For-profit  colleges and universities have been a target of state and federal investigations for years.  I have written about this topic since 2012.  It should be noted that not all for-profit colleges are scams, but there are a large number of for-profit colleges, sometimes referred to as “diploma mills” that at times offer credit for your “life experience” and lure students in with promises of a helpful degree, but the students end up with a worthless degree and an empty wallet.  Sometimes the names of these scamming colleges and universities are confusingly similar to legitimate colleges.  For instance, Columbia State University is a diploma mill while Columbia University is an eminent Ivy League school.

Recently, a website for the non-existent Massachusetts Central University has resurfaced.  The phony college claims on its website to have 10,000 students and 1,200 faculty members.  The truth is that the college doesn’t exist in any form.  The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education first became aware of the Massachusetts Central University in 2021 and ordered the taking down of its website, however, now that website, complete with fake photos of students, faculty and a non-existent campus has reappeared.

Members of the armed forces and student veterans are often targeted by deceptive marketing by some for-profit schools who falsely claim they are affiliated with the U.S. Military.


If you are considering attending a for-profit school, first check it out with the United States Department of Education’s website at to make sure it is an accredited institution.

You also should investigate whether a local college, university or community college would be more cost effective for you.  For-profit colleges and universities are often more expensive than these other alternatives without offering any distinct advantages.  Also, check out the graduation rates of any for profit college you are considering and finally, investigate the job prospects in your field of study.  Don’t just take the word of the college.

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