Broward News

Broward College Bars Entry of Diploma Mill Graduates After New Times Investigation

About two months ago, a reporter from our sister paper to the south, Miami New Times, decided to see how easy it would be to get a high school diploma that could be used to be accepted into a few local, taxpayer-funded colleges.

He called a local diploma mill after seeing an advertisement on a billboard, and eight days and $399 later, he was a "graduate" of InterAmerican Christian Academy.

The joke they passed off as rigorous coursework included five take-home tests -- which he didn't even take. He asked local kids between the ages of 8 and 13 to take the tests for him, and he was out of high school a week later with his fresh diploma.

To further the joke they're calling diplomas, those pieces of paper -- which also came along with a high school "transcript" -- could be used to gain access to at least two local colleges.

Now Broward College wants nothing to do with InterAmerican Christian Academy "graduates."

New Times' reporter says Broward College has accepted just three people who presented diplomas from the school -- but that's the last of them:

...spokesperson Rivka Spiro explains that after New Times first notified them of InterAmerican's unique -- or maybe not -- educational model, "we subsequently validated that it was in fact suspicious." Broward College removed InterAmerican from its list of acceptable high schools "within 24 to 48 hours" of that finding, says Spiro.

Spiro told New Times that those already enrolled in Broward College with the bogus degrees will be allowed to stay.

The problem they're having down south, though, is that Miami Dade College -- which has accepted 88 InterAmerican graduates thus far -- says it's not planning on banning future diploma-mill recipients from studying there.

A spokesman from Miami Dade College told New Times it's "an open-door institution that accepts all students from high schools if they are listed in the Florida Department of Education (DOE) site" and hadn't yet responded to questions as to how Broward College was able to ban those students' entry.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley