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3 Common Education Questions

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With so many "Diploma Mills" around, how can I judge the quality of an online education program?

Let's start by saying you can't judge an online school by its campus. Many "Nationally Accredited" colleges and universities offer only distance learning and online programs. This means they don't need a fancy college campus to deliver a quality education.

Here are two easy ways to judge an online school and avoid "Diploma Mills:"

1. Is the school accredited by either a regional or national accreditation association. These associations include:

  • DETC - Distance Education and Training Council
  • MSA - Middle States Association
  • NEASC - New England Association of Schools and Colleges
  • NCASC - North Central Association of Schools and Colleges
  • NWCCU - Northwest Commission on College and Universities
  • SACS - Southwest Association of Colleges and Schools
  • WASC - Western Association of Schools and Colleges

2. Is the school a member of the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC), listed by the Defense Activities for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES), or have programs approved by the VA for use with GI Bill?

If the answer is yes to either of these questions, you can bet they are NOT a diploma mill. In other words, don't judge online colleges and universities by their cover -- the building or address. Judge them by their associations -- the accreditation(s) -- they keep.

How does a school determine how many credits to give me for my military experience and training?

College credit for military experience is determined by the American Council on Education (ACE). ACE evaluates hundreds of military courses, schools, MOSs, ratings, each year. Each ACE evaluation includes a curriculum description, course length, dates and recommended credits listed for both upper (bachelor's) and lower (associate) levels.

Note: Not all schools grant ACE recommended credit for military experience, so it is vital that you shop around for the school that works best for you. Click here to learn more about getting college credit for your military experience.

Exactly what benefits do active-duty military students have available?

There are several benefits available to active-duty servicemembers. Check out the Active Duty Education Guide for a list of benefits and some general comparisons.

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GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at