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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Did G.A.O Check Out Rep. Joyce Beatty's Alma Mater?

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Apparently, the GAO used an undercover investigator to ask questions about Pacific Western University in 2004. There were concerns about high-level federal employees who claimed bogus academic degrees. A lengthy report is available about a probe of reputed diploma mills by the investigating arm of Congress. There are mentions of Pacific Western in the body of the GAO report.


  1. Bill - just to be on the safe side, I would want to check out if the concern is that those entities are getting money they shouldn't be getting from the government (at any level) or any other person when what a person (and the government) get back is of no value or, worse, nonexistent. As for the people pursuing such letters, well - they belong to a special group too. But there's a lot going on here. I would think the GAO is first, or should be first and foremost interested in not giving our money to entities that don't deserve it. As for the individuals getting the worthless letters - employers need to figure that out too, don't you think, and balance with everything else in a candidate's background.

  2. Bill, the GAO report is talking about people calling up, getting degrees for their "life experience," and not attending classes.

    Purporting to be a prospective student, our investigator placed telephone calls to three schools that award academic credits based on life experience and require no classroom instruction: Barrington University (Mobile, Alabama); Lacrosse University (Bay St. Louis, Mississippi); and Pacific Western University (Los Angeles, California).

    Now the question is, does "no classroom instruction" merely mean no face-to-face instruction, or does it mean no instruction, period, including distance learning?. My wife is getting a Masters through distance learning, and my take is that it is MORE difficult than a similar face-to-face classroom set-up would be, because they require forum participation, electronic portfolios and all kinds of things that are very time consuming.

    IF the GAO means that these places are/were providing absolutely no instruction (classroom or online), as seems to be the case, we're talking about something that's pretty serious.

    There also may be an OH Election Law issue with someone saying in their campaign lit that they have a certain degree if the school is not accredited, depending on what state law may or may not say about a person's ability to claim a degree on a job app if a school isn't accredited.