Crime and Fraud in Online GED Programs: Making Sense of It

Looking to get ahead in life? An online GED program might be the best way to go. It's quicker than going to an online or brick-and-mortar high school. It's cheaper, too, and the nationally recognized test means everyone knows exactly what kind of education you got when you prepared for the exam. So, what's the problem?

One is criminal, and the other is, well, criminal. Let's start with the easier one. Fraud is a problem in all types of schooling that doesn't involve showing up, and even when it doesn't. NCAA athletes sometimes get help with schoolwork to remain academically eligible. Online and by-mail programs have often been accused of lax standards. We always recommend that students review these institutions to make sure they're getting the best education possible.

Unfortunately, too many people haven't. For example, some online institutions offer "like GED" certificates. It's similar to the fine print on some online colleges' television ads: "credits are unlikely to transfer." What it means is that because the school or preparation center isn't nationally or regionally accredited, you may be paying for a piece of paper that won't get you anywhere. That can be a heavy blow if you need more education to pay for higher bills, or simply wanted the sense of achievement.

There's another sense of crime that could cause problems for those who are considering an online GED program. Part of President Obama's executive order allowed a two-year reprieve for immigrants not here legally who have a GED or high school diploma. It offers them the chance to get a college degree, which will allow them to live in the country. This has caused a lot of consternation among those who prefer other ways of dealing with illegal immigration.

It means that there's potential for upheaval. Some test preparation services may not want to lose local or state funding as politicians fight it out. You may also find some shutting down because of boycotts. It's a remote chance, but politics can have odd effects on people who are only tangentially related.

To keep up-to-date with news about online GED programs or to learn more about how these programs work, keep checking back here for the latest news and articles about how to succeed and get your diploma.

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Data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics. The data displayed is compiled from the most recent sources available. For public schools this is the 2012-2013 school year. For private schools this is the 2011-2012 school year.

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