List of Fake Online Universities in USA | What Online College Students Need To Know

University names like American Central University, Great Frederick Taylor University, California Graduate School of Theology, and prestigious Cambridge State University Jackson sound like universities worth studying for a degree.

Yea, I guess you’re already thinking of how to get into any of the prestigious universities, especially if you hear that their admission process is straightforward.

But let me shock you a bit!

Do you know that all the online universities I mentioned and more are not real online universities? Do you know that any degree you get from there is useless because any recognized body does not accredit them?

Well, that is the truth. They have no licensed universities and are not legally recognized in the United States of America.

Though most of them have long been shut down, new ones still appear every day because setting up a fake university nowadays is very easy- get a domain name and replicate what is in a real university website, that is all.

And also, considering the popularity of distance learning and the easy accessibility of online degrees whereby you can gain an education from a prestigious institution without having to visit the institution physically, ascertaining fake online universities is very complex.

That is why we have made this article. This article will help you learn more about fake online universities and get a comprehensive list of common online Universities in the USA that offer unaccredited degree programs.

Carefully read through without skimming, and you will be glad you did.

The table of contents below will help you navigate through it!

Fake Online Universities

Fake Online Universities, or Blacklisting or Diploma mills universities, operate without any recognized accreditation body for higher education.

Most of these universities give students degrees in exchange for money. They normally have a roster of degrees for a specific cost without going through curriculum approval.

One common red flag of these online universities is that they assure you of a degree without doing any coursework or solely by work experience.

What can I do with an Online University Degree?

A degree from a fake university is not recognized and is as good as useless. This means it cannot help you secure a job or advance to a graduate program in that field of study.

In conclusion, you cannot do anything with a degree from a fake university.

Read: 10 Tuition-Free Universities in USA For International Students in 2023

How to Know Fake Online University in USA

Most students fail to verify an institution’s accreditation status before applying to them. This has brought the “had I known” statement from students that fall victim to this.

So, here is how to verify a fake or unaccredited university:

Fake Accreditation Body

One proof that an online university is fake is if the university’s accreditation status is not legit. Accreditation is an authorized verification from a legal body signifying that a university’s program or programs meet a certain quality standard.

An agency of the Ministry of Education in that country must nationally or regionally accredit every real university.

For any university unsure of the accreditation, you can search to ensure the accreditation is not fake.

Vaguely Familiar Name

This red flag shows a fake online university in the USA. Oftentimes, fraudsters create fake online degree programs using the name of reputable universities.

They attach ‘Harvard,’ Cambridge, Oxford, or any other globally recognized university to their name to trick people into thinking they are affiliated with the university.

You must be careful when you come across any of such names, and in a situation where you are not too sure, research the university.

No Direct Contact Address

Another sign that an online university program is fake is when you find it hard to locate the university’s official website, address, or contact phone number.

Aside from that, if the contact e-mail address or the details on the resource look a little suspicious, there is every tendency that the university and the online programs offered there are fake.

Not providing proper contact information is another red flag, as respectable colleges and universities will have different ways to contact them if you want more information.

Earning a Degree is Very Easy

The fastest and easiest way most fraudsters operating fake online programs in the USA lure their victims is by making the admission process easy or operating on a free admission policy. That doesn’t mean that any university with a free admission policy is fake, No!

Just some fake universities have been using that as a means to achieve their fraudulent activities. If the admission requirements of any online university program you’re not sure of seem way too easy, and you’re even promised by the university an easy degree program, watch out because chances are they’re not real.

The Demand for Advanced Tuition Fees

If an online institution requires a lot of money upfront before you even know you were admitted, it is surely not a legit online program.

Generally, universities don’t mandate you to pay the complete tuition fee before starting your study; it is usually optional. And aside from it being optional, tuition fees are paid in installments each semester.

Errors on the Official Website

Another red flag of a fake online university in the USA is that it contains consistent grammatical errors and bad English structure or construction.

No “.edu” URL.

“The ‘.edu.’ URL is used throughout the higher education industry in the United States in particular,”

A program with a “.com” or “.net” address should cause a prospective student to dig deeper into whether it gives fake degrees.

Fake College Accreditation Agencies

  • American Association for Higher Education and Accreditation (AAHEA)
  • Association of Accredited Bible Schools
  • Distance Learning International Accreditation Association (DEIAA)
  • Association of Distance Learning Programs (ADLP)
  • Association of Private Colleges and Universities
  • Central American Council of Accreditation (CACA)
  • Council for Distance Education
  • Accreditation Panel for Online Colleges and Universities (APTEC)
  • Association for Online Academic Accreditation
  • Board of Online Universities Accreditation (BOUA)
  • Council of Online Higher Education
  • Central States Consortium of Colleges & Schools
  • Distance and Online Universities Accreditation Council (DOUAC)
  • Distance Learning Quality Assurance Agency (DLQAA)
  • European Accreditation Board of Higher Education (EABHE)
  • Global Accreditation Bureau (GAB)
  • Accrediting Commission International (ACI)
  • American Accrediting Association of Theological Institutions
  • American Association of Drugless Practitioners (ADP)
  • Global Accredited Council for Business Association (GACBA)
  • Distance Learning International Accreditation Association (DEIAA)
  • Global Accreditation Council for Business Education (GACBE)
  • American Council of Private Colleges and Universities
  • Distance Learning Quality Assurance Agency (DLQAA)
  • Global Accreditation Council for Online Academia
  • International Commission for Higher Education
  • International Accreditation Agency for Online Universities (IAAOU)
  • Association for Online Excellence
  • Association for Online Academic Excellence{{ad19}}
  • International Accreditation Association for Online Education (IAAFOE)
  • Global Accreditation Commission for Distance Education (GACDE)
  • International Accreditation Commission (IAC)
  • International Association Council of Engineering Professionals (IACEP)
  • Accreditation Council for Distance Education (ACTDE)
  • Accreditation Council for Online Academia (ACOHE)
  • International Accreditation Commission for Online Universities (IACOU) (Kingston)
  • International Accreditation Commission for Online Educational Institutions (IACOEI)
  • American Association for Adult and Continuing Education (AAACE)
  • International Accreditation Organization (IAO)
  • International Council on Education (ICE)
Others include:
  • International Education Ministry Accreditation Association
  • National Academy of Higher Education
  • National Distance Learning Accreditation Council (NDLAC)
  • New Millennium Accrediting Partnership for Educators Worldwide
  • Organization for Online Learning Accreditation (OKOLA)
  • Transworld Accrediting Commission Intl. (TAC)
  • United Christian College Accreditation Association (UCCAA) (Divine Heart)
  • United Nations Council
  • International Higher Learning Commission
  • International Online Education Accrediting Board (IOEAB)
  • North American Distance Learning Association (NADLA)
  • United States Distance Education & Training Council of Nevada (NOTE: A similarly titled agency, the Distance Education & Training Council (DETC), of Washington, D.C., is a VALID and RECOGNIZED online learning accreditation agency.)
  • Universal Council for Online Education Accreditation (UCOEA)
  • World Association for Online Education (WAOE)**
  • World Association of Universities and Colleges (WAUC)
  • Universal Accreditation Council (UAC)
  • National Accreditation and Certification Board (NACB)
  • National Commission of Accredited Schools (NCAS)
  • World Online Education Accrediting Commission (WOEAC)
  • World-Wide Accreditation Commission of Christian Educational Institutions (WWAC)
  • National Board of Education (NBOE)
  • National College Accreditation Council (NCAC)
  • Worldwide Higher Education Accreditation Society (WHEAS)

Also, read: 21 Oldest Universities In USA For 2023

What are the Unaccredited/Fake Online Universities in USA?

Although the United States of America houses the top online world-best universities that boast of high-quality education to both its citizens and international students, there are, however, some institutions that are not accredited. We know these distance learning institutions due to their status as fake online universities.

That means any degree you get from any of the schools is useless and is as good as not having a degree. Therefore, to be on the safe side, you must be careful before making your choice of school to avoid crying in the end.

Now, considering that fake universities in the USA are, we have made a list of some of the most popular ones that must be avoided.

List of Fake Online Universities in USA

Below is the List:

  • American Bible College University Arizona
  • American Central University Wyoming
  • University of Northern Washington
  • University of NorthWest
  • American Century University New Mexico
  • American Coastline University
  • University of the Nations
  • American University of Hawaii
  • Ames Christian University Florida
  • Bienville University Woodville, Mississippi
  • Cal Southern University
  • Christian Leadership University New York
  • Delta International University of New Orleans
  • Frederick Taylor International University Hawaii; California
  • Columbus University, Picayune, Mississippi
  • Frederick Taylor University California
  • Friends International Christian University Florida; California
  • Georgia Christian University Norcross, Georgia
  • International American University California; Nepal
  • International Bible University Norwalk, California; Carpinteria, California;
  • Hawaii
  • LaSalle University Louisiana
  • Life Christian University Tampa, Florida
  • Louisiana Baptist University Louisiana
  • Louisiana Christian University Lake Charles, Louisiana
  • Madison University Gulfport, Mississippi
  • University of North America
  • University of Northern Virginia
  • Vancouver University Worldwide
  • Lacrosse University
  • Monticello University
  • Pacific Southern University
  • Columbia State University
  • Commonwealth Open University Virgin Islands
  • Concordia College and University
  • University of Beverly Hills
  • Tennessee Christian University
  • Washington International University

Common Fake Online Universities in USA

For clarity, let’s talk briefly about some of these universities. Note that some of them don’t have official websites, which is proof they are fake.

Not all unaccredited online Universities in the USA are fake or blacklist universities.

#1. American Central University

American Central University (ACU) was a non-accredited distance learning private, the non-profit university approved by the state of Wyoming in 2004.

The Oregon Degree Authorization Office has confirmed that the institution could be operated from Malaysia. American Central University started to be a part of the Mina Resource/Mina Management Institute in Malaysia.

ACU was not approved by any institution recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation or the Department of Education of the United States. In certain countries, unaccredited degree titles can be technically limited or unconstitutional.

#2. American Management University

This is another university in the USA that is assumed to be offering fake online degree programs.
The major aim of AMU is to give everyone quality and affordable options that will give them the tools they need to enhance their career.

They claim to give students the flexibility to work around their family and professional obligations and help them reach their own personal and professional goals.

Also, the institution claims to help students who want to give up their education ambitions because of fear of student debts to build up their hope again.

They believe they can make a difference in the life of educated people who wants to run businesses and governments.

Though the university is not accredited, they claim that their programs are ASIC accredited through their partners via validation.

Also, read: Top 30 USA Universities With the Highest Acceptance Rate In 2023

#3. Frederick Taylor University

Address: 2050 W. Chapman Ave, Suite 108, Orange, CA 92868

Frederick Taylor University is another university that offers unaccredited online degree programs in USA.

The university is a private institution of higher learning to offer undergraduate and graduate degree programs in Management and Business Administration through distance learning and online methodologies.

This university claims to be charged with giving endeavor high-quality programs, teaching excellence, and exceptional student services.

However, Frederick Taylor University is approved to operate by the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education and appears on the current California Postsecondary Education Commission list of state-approved institutions.

But currently not accredited by any accreditation body recognized by U.S. education authorities.

Official Website

#4. Louisiana Baptist University

Louisiana Baptist University (LBU) is a theologically conservative Christian university founded in 1973 in Shreveport, Louisiana.

LBU has both an on-campus and distance education program that primarily teaches subjects about the Bible and Baptist theology.

Classes are grouped into five areas: School of Biblical Studies, School of Communications (Music, Creative writing), School of Counseling, School of Christian Education, and Theological Seminary. Distance education courses are offered by mail and via web-based delivery.

LBU is not accredited by an accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education. Because the university only grants non-secular degrees for use in various areas of ministry, it operates under religious-exempt status in Louisiana.

Official Website

#5. Washington International University

Address: 144 Ivy Ln, King of Prussia, PA 19406, United States

Washington International University is an unaccredited institution of higher education founded in 1994 and is currently incorporated in the British Virgin Islands.

It is a private, non-traditional, non-campus, international distance learning cyber-university with the Washington Educational Organization Inc. as its financial arm.

The university claims to be a university without borders, helping students from all around the globe. It describes itself as a “university without borders,” serving clients worldwide via distance education.

Currently, the institution offers online bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in business, liberal arts, and engineering. They also offer “traditional” and “accelerated” degree programs.

The traditional programs require students to complete just ten courses for a bachelor’s degree and eight for a master’s, along with a senior research project.

Official Website

#6. Concordia College and University

Address: 1201 N Orange St, Wilmington, DE 19801, United States

Concordia College and University is another university in Delaware, USA offering unaccredited online programs.

The university is known as an entity with a primary mailing address in Delaware claiming to be a real-life institution that awards associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees based solely on the purchaser’s work and life experience, with some credits transferred in [Ad Eundem Gradum].

Most people think the university is affiliated with Concordia University, but it’s not!

Although the name is similar, it is not affiliated with any regionally accredited institutions within the ten-member Concordia University System.

One of the most confusing facts about this university that made people believe it might be among the fake online universities in the USA is that it has multiple addresses and is not accredited by any higher education accrediting body recognized by the United States.

Official Website

#7. Madison University

Location: Gulfport, Mississippi, United States

Another university offering non-accredited or fake online degree programs in the USA is Madison University. Madison is a non-accredited distance learning university based in Gulfport, Mississippi.

The university pays tuition per degree, not course, credit, or academic term. There are discounts for different degrees or for recommending any enrollees. However, the university appears to have enrolled more than 39,000 students worldwide.

The World Association of Universities and Colleges accredits Madison University states. This unrecognized “accreditation” board is not recognized or approved by the United States Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

Due to its accreditation body, its degrees and credits might not be acceptable to employers or other institutions. The use of degree titles may be restricted or illegal in some jurisdictions.

Official Website

Also, read: 10 Best Skating Schools in USA | 2023 Rankings

#8. Bienville University


The University was a non-accredited college located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The University of Bienville was referred to as the Graduate Mill or Graduate Mill in the 2003 report by KVBC News.

It has never been accredited or approved by any accreditation body, has not been approved by the US Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation, and has been closed by the State of Louisiana.

Bienville University has been listed as an institution whose degrees are illegal to use in Texas because its accreditation body has not been accepted.

Currently, the degrees and credits of Bienville do not apply to contractors or other academic institutions, and the use of their degrees in some jurisdictions has been limited.

#9. University of Beverly Hills

The University of Beverly Hills was one of the known fake online universities in USA that runs an unaccredited school of arts and sciences.

The university’s main facility was located in Beverly Hills, delivering on-site and distance education programs, lacking association with a campus, arts center, or laboratory facilities.

Due to its unaccredited status, many considered it a simple degree mill, although it claims to be a provider of non-formal adult education.

#10. Christian Leadership University

Address:3792 Broadway St. Cheektowaga, NY

Christian Leadership University is a regional Christian university established in 1998. The university has an accreditation from Christian Accreditation International.

The institution is an independent, non-profit institution headquartered in Cheektowaga, New York. With students from over 127 countries all around the country.

The school offers various types of Associate, Bachelors’s, Master’s, and Doctoral degrees and Certificate programs. Some common fields are master M.B.S., Master of Biblical Studies, M.C.A., Master of Christian Arts, M.C.C., Master of Christian Counseling, and M.C.E. Also, Master of Christian Entrepreneurship, M.C.L. Master of Christian Leadership, M.D.H., Master of Divine Healing, M.Div., Master of Divinity, M.I. Master of Intercession, etc.

Furthermore, the university offers 100% online learning, enabling its students to learn at their convenience.

#11. Clarksville Theological School

Clarksville Theological School is a seminary in Clayton, North Carolina. Established in Clarksville, Tennessee, it was closed in 1982 through court action after it was found that the program did not conform with state requirements for the award of an academic degree.

In the case of Tennessee ex rel. McLemore v. Clarksville School of Theology, Tennessee Supreme Court affirmed the broad state oversight of a theological school, which educated the only clergy, offered no secular classes and awarded only theological degrees.

Official Website



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