Getting an education is pretty important for career advancement. Unfortunately, some “institutions” that appear to be affordable alternatives actually just take your money in exchange for diplomas that aren’t worth the paper they were printed on.
The Texas Attorney General’s Office has permanently shut down Houston-based Lincoln Academy, which it says falsely claimed to be an accredited educational institution. (You can read the final judgment and permanent injunction here.)
The final judgment requires the defendants to cease advertising; shut down the Lincoln Academy website, social media page and affiliated websites; decline to accept new students and wind down all operations.
The judgment also requires the defendants to provide more than $1.4 million in compensation to customers it deceived. Consumers with questions or who wish to file a complaint against Lincoln Academy may call (800) 252-8011 (for callers within Texas) or (512) 463-2100 (for callers outside Texas). Complaint forms are also available online at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov.
Defendants in the judgment include:
- Lincoln Academy
- National Home School Accreditation of America
- High School Diploma Online
- Charles J. Lubbat
- David C. Lubbat
- Catherine Lubbat
- Nancy Lubbat
- Constandi Lubbat
- Momentive Group, LLC
- Nyloc Enterprises, LLC d/b/a National Home School Accreditation of America
- Rylex, LLC d/b/a Brownstone Academy
- The David Lubbat Special Trust
- The Charles Lubbat Special Trust
Thinking about advancing your education? Your BBB warns you to make sure you don’t waste time and money on an institution that isn’t legitimate. Here are some tell-tale signs of a diploma mill:
- No Studies, No Exams — Get a Degree for Your Experience. Diploma mills grant degrees for “work or life experience” alone. Accredited colleges may give a few credits for specific experience pertinent to a degree program, but not an entire degree.
- No Attendance. Legitimate colleges or universities, including online schools, require substantial course work.
- Flat Fee. Many diploma mills charge on a per-degree basis. Legitimate colleges charge by the credit, course, or semester, not a flat fee for an entire degree.
- No Waiting. Operations that guarantee a degree in a few days, weeks, or even months aren’t legitimate. If an ad promises that you can earn a degree very quickly, it’s probably a diploma mill.
- Click Here To Order Now! Some diploma mills push themselves through aggressive sales tactics. Accredited colleges don’t use spam or high-pressure telemarketing to market themselves. Some diploma mills also advertise in newspapers, magazines, and on the Web.
- Advertising through spam or pop-ups. If the school caught your attention through an unsolicited email or pop-up ad, it may be a diploma mill. Legitimate institutions, including distance learning programs, won’t advertise through spam or pop-ups.