Bogus online university uses easy financial aid to scam students

February 26, 2015

An investigation has revealed that an online network of fraudulent universities has been bilking students out of tuition dollars while awarding phoney degrees. The universities in the network claim to be located in the United States, but typically target students in the Middle East. They offer generous scholarships but ask students to pay the balance of their fees immediately. Students have little or no interaction with professors, instead completing a series of automated tests for their coursework. The scam came to light after Dean Hoke, President of an Abu Dhabi-based education consulting firm, researched a press release from an organization called the "Middle East Office of Academic Regulation & Examination." Investigators traced this organization to MUST University, which describes itself as the world's largest university, operating in more than 180 countries and employing more than 2,500 professors. MUST claims to be accredited by the International Accreditation Organization (IAO), whose website closely resembles MUST's. Individuals listed as accreditors told reporters they had never heard of the IAO. The Chronicle of Higher Education