This business opened in 1984 and has had mailing addresses in California, Hawaii, Idaho, and Wyoming. In 2004, it was the subject of a Senate Hearing that resulted in the following reports:
Federal Employees have Obtained Degrees from Diploma Mills and Other Unaccredited Schools, Some at Government Expense.
Diploma Mills are Easily Created and Some Have Issued Bogus Degrees to Federal Employees at Government Expense.
Bogus Degrees and Unmet Expectations: Are Taxpayer Dollars Subsidizing Diploma Mills?
Some excerpts from the testimony include:
Testimony of Andrew Coulombe, Former Employee Kennedy Western University:
..."After graduating from college, I was looking to work in the field of higher education and I saw a listing on the employment website Monster.com for a position as an admission counselor at Kennedy-Western University. I had not heard of Kennedy Western, but was eager to work in academia and to advise students. Therefore I applied for the job.
Shortly after being hired, I started training at Kennedy Western. I soon discovered this was like no other school I had ever seen. I saw immediately that I had been misled by Kennedy Westerns recruiter. I was not going to be counseling anyone. I had been hired to be a telemarketer, using a script to sell Kennedy Western just like any other product.
As an admission counselor, I was required to call between 120 and 125 perspective students per day, trying to convince them that they should apply to Kennedy Western.
...The problem is, much of our sales pitch was not true. There is no admissions board. Applications were reviewed by one person. Of course, the applicant had excellent chances of getting in.
In fact, I had never heard of an applicant being rejected.
We were also instructed to tell applicants applicants that they would be taking the same classes that students took at real schools, like Harvard or Princeton. I went to a real school, Kennedy Western is not a real school."
Admission counselors work in a boiler room atmosphere, where were under significant pressure to meet lofty sales goals. We were paid a low base salary and made over half of our pay in commissions.
We were paid a commission of $15 per head on every application we brought in. If a student actually enrolled, we would get roughly $100 per student
Admissions counselors names were also listed on a large white board in our sales room, indicating how many sales we had made and whether or not we had met our sales goals. There was enormous turnover in Kennedy-Westerns sales force. Many counselors quit once they discovered they were going to be telemarketers, not admissions counselors. Others could not meet the sales goals set by Kennedy-Western. Others simply could not stomach what they were being asked to do.
(From Exhibit #31 - Committee on Governmental Affairs). As provided by Kennedy-Western University, they list 119 employees most of them are some type of Admissions Counelors like Andrew Coulombe and only one 1 faculty member.
Testimony of Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander Claudia Gelzer:
Witness testimony was provided during the same hearing by Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander Claudia Gelzer, who was assigned as a staff aide to the committee, testified that Kennedy Western gave her life experience credit towards a master's in environmental engineering. Kennedy Western waived 43% of the course credit required for the degree based only on her application and descriptions of prior coursework and military training.
She testified that Kennedy Western didn't check any of her claimed work experience.
With 16 hours of effort she was able to earn 40% of the total remaining coursework required for her master's.
"As for my first-hand experience with Kennedy-Western courses and passing the tests, I found that basic familiarity with the textbook was all I needed. I was able to find exam answers without having read a single chapter of the text...
As for what I learned, the answer is very little."
". the schools we investigated take pains to try to convince prospective students that they are legitimate and that student have to earn their degrees. That is why a healthy dose of credit for work and life experience becomes such a critical component of their business model. That is what permits these more sophisticated diploma mills to assume an air of legitimacy while minimizing the actual amount of work required."
Our investigation has revealed that there seem to be two kinds of diploma mills. One is simply a printing press.
Others, such as Columbia State University, Kennedy Western and some of the others we have looked at, are more sophisticated. They require a modicum of work, but nothing close to what should be required for a legitimate degree.
Obviously, you shouldn't be able to earn a degree in 27 days, the example we discussed yesterday and Senator Lieberman cited."
From Senate Hearing 108-353 "Bogus Degrees and Unmet Expectations, Are Taxpayer Dollars Subsidizing Diploma Mills?"
A Senator asks an undercover agent who enrolled, about Kennedy Western faculty.
Senator Lieberman: "I wanted to ask you whether there was any way in which the so-called professors at Kennedy-Western made themselves available to you over the Internet. For instance, was there ever a way give to you that you could contact anybody that seemed to be a professor if you had a question about a course?"
Lieutenant Commander Gelzer: "You were supposed to be able to contact your professor for what they called tutorial advice. You weren't allowed to contact your professor directly. You had to make a request to your student advisor and then they would forward it on to the professor, and the only time I reached out to a professor, I never got a response."
The use of unaccredited KWU degree titles may be legally restricted or illegal in some jurisdictions. Jurisdictions that have restricted or made illegal the use of credentials from unaccredited schools include Oregon, Michigan, Maine, North Dakota, New Jersey, Washington, Nevada, Illinois, Indiana, and Texas. (See Dept. of Ed)
Kennedy Western University is also restricted from accepting students from Oregon, California, or Utah.
The State of Texas lists Kennedy-Western University as a:
Fraudulent or Substandard Institution with No Known Texas Connection
Fraudulent or substandard degree" means a degree conferred in Texas in violation of the Texas Education Code
In Oregon, you need to use this disclaimer:
In addition, an individual using an unaccredited degree, even if the employer allows use of such degrees, must disclose on resumes, letterheads, business cards, announcements and advertisements that "(Name of school) does not have accreditation recognized by the United States Department of Education and has not been approved by the Office of Degree Authorization." ORS 348.609(2)(a). The only exception is for schools approved by ODA. See ORS 348.609(d) and OAR 583-050-0014.
It is a Class B Misdemeanor under the Oregon Criminal Code to use a degree in violation of ORS 348.609.
Current Usabilitiy Issues 2007
"When Elected Officials Aren't What They Seem
Texas officials and Pennsylvania cats tout misleading credentials"
"Identity deception can take many forms. A diploma mill degree, for example, may cause employers and taxpayers to assume a candidates credentials are genuine. Unless the deception is discovered, diploma mill customers adorn their identities with unearned titles before and after their name. Last year, Dallas based Trinity Southern University awarded a Masters degree to a Pennsylvania cat."
"News for Public Officials has learned that one well-known Texas County Clerk serving on the Supreme Courts "Judicial Committee on Information Technology" Task Force claims a Ph.D. from a Wyoming school the United States General Accounting Office defines as a diploma mill.
Before she obtained her degree from Kennedy-Western and began calling herself Dr. Dianne Wilson, PhD, a Grand Jury indicted the Fort Bend County Clerk on charges she used taxpayer money to partially finance a Bachelor Degree from St. Edwards University and Certificates from the National Center for State Court Institute for Court Management. (St. Edwards and the NCSC are accredited)
Kennedy-Western apparently accepted Wilsons Certificates from the NCSC: Institute for Court Management as the equivalent of a Masters Degree. The NCSC does not offer Master's degrees.
Wilson is not the only government official to claim advanced degrees from diploma mills or to put the title Dr. in front of their name after buying a degree from an unaccredited school."
Additional Reading on Kennedy-Western University:
"It May Take Hours, But You Too Can Earn a University Degree"
The Oregonian Newspaper 7/4/04
Real officials, bogus degrees
Fake degrees a growing Texas problem
Tuesday, October 23, 2007