When you hear the words “employment background screening,” you probably think of an employer delving into your criminal history, your credit report, and even your personal life. All of these things are part of a typical background screening experience, but an often-overlooked aspect of screening is education verification. Only about 34% of employers actually check the educational qualifications listed on your resumé, according to a 2012 study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). If you think that number is low, you are right; the same SHRM study showed that fully 25% of people inflate their educational achievements on their resumés. Further, even when employers do verify an applicant’s education, they are generally only checking attendance and graduation dates. Rarely do they check to see that the university that the applicant attended is properly accredited.
It is accreditation that is at the heart of this issue. Unaccredited schools that offer “life experience” diplomas often dupe unsuspecting scholars into believing that the school is legitimate. These schools are known as diploma mills. One such school is Almeda University. Founded in Idaho in 1997 as a distance learning program, the “school” offers undergraduate as well as masters and doctorate degree programs. It claims several accreditations, but none of them are recognized by the United States Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, and several states, including Michigan, Oregon, and Texas, warn prospective students that a degree obtained from Almeda may not be recognized by employers.
In Atlanta alone, a LinkedIn search for “Almeda University” turned up 156 users claiming the school in their education credentials. The job titles held by these users, who are both male and female, and cover the gamut of age and race, range from manager to CEO.
At The Cedalius Group, the employment background screening provider you can trust, we believe in giving our clients all of the tools they need to ensure that the candidates hired are fully qualified to perform their jobs. We do that by providing top-notch services for investigating criminal backgrounds, verifying credit histories, and checking personal, professional, and educational references. For more information on diploma mills and how to guard your company against them, call us today at 404.963.9862 or contact us online.
The Cedalius Group offers insight into the background screening industry for educational purposes. We always recommend you consult with your legal counsel to determine practices that best suit your business needs.