Vindy wants opinions on online degrees; one official responds


« Your Newspaper

by Todd Franko   | 340 entries


A candidate for Mahoning County sheriff, David Aey, is running into some questions about his qualifications.

State requirements for the office is the person at least have an associate degree. Aey has one, but it is from an online institution.

Here's a piece from our story last week from David Skolnick: Aey received an associate degree in criminal justice administration last year from Belford University, an online school. On its Web site, Belford advertises that a person can “add bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate degrees to your résumé in just 7 days and open avenues to promotion and better jobs.”

The Web site — — also has links to “order your degree based on experience,” and another that reads: “Dont [sic] have experience? Click here to take the online equivalency test.”

Aey said he spent about six to eight months working toward his associate degree from Belford and was then notified by the school that his “life skills” made him immediately eligible for an associate degree. After passing a test, Aey said he spent about $400 to $500 to get the degree.

We're considering a bigger story on the role of online degrees in the current workforce.

Are you someone who got a promotion or job due to an online degree?

Have you not hired someone because their degree was from an online?   

However you measure such degrees, email me at

(Local opinions only. If you're reading this from a weather station in Antarctica, no help needed.) 

Readers: This is a response delivered this morning. It doesn't paint a flattering pik of Aey's degree. Read below and let me know your thoughts. I checked elearning's web site. It seems more legit than Belford U. To date, we are awaiting word from Belford U. They asked Skolnick to email questions ... Todd

Just read “Vindy wants your opinion on online degrees” and wanted to chime in.
There is a HUGE difference between an “online degree” -- a legitimate college degree earned via online education from an accredited postsecondary institution of learning -- and an “online degree” from a diploma mill.
“Belford University” would qualify as a diploma mill. It is NOT a college, university, or school who holds legitimate regional, national, or specialized accreditation from either the US Department of Education and/or CHEA (The Council for Higher Education Accreditation.) In other words, diploma (or degree) mills – who have flourished of late thanks to the Internet – sell fraudulent college degrees.  (see and for more info)
On the other hand, you have thousands of “real” colleges and universities – think Penn State University’s World Campus, University of Illinois Global Campus (just to name some of the large public universities – there are many private, not for profit schools and private, for profit schools who also offer online education – see
for some more examples) - who offer college classes in an online format. Most of these are “traditional” schools, which have campus locations, football stadiums, career centers, students who live on campus, etc. A very small majority are actually completely online or virtual institutions in the sense that they have no actual classrooms in which a student could take courses – take for example Capella University, Walden University, American Sentinel University, to name a few.
Unfortunately, the terms “online degree” and “online college” can be awfully complicated, especially when diploma mills get into the mix.
Hope this was helpful. I encourage you to visit our website, (start out at to learn more about online education – we pride ourselves on listing online fully accredited colleges and universities – you will NEVER find a fake degree with us. We have helped hundreds of thousands of people who really want to earn a real degree.

Helen MacDermott
Prospecting Services Division




Don't Miss a Story

Sign up for our newsletter to receive daily news directly in your inbox.