Beware of Education Scams

I’ve been wondering about what the University of Fairfax is. Diploma Mill or what. They’ve been sponsoring some CISSP study sessions locally and some CISSP webcasts that I watched. They offer a PhD in Information Systems concentrating in Information Assurance.
While the website did look like it is a real program rather than a diploma mill program, I was suspicious having not heard of them before. The next item that raised my suspicions was the statement “The University of Fairfax is certified by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia to operate in the Commonwealth of Virginia.” When I looked at that State website it appeared more to be a registration of higher education programs rather than any endorsement or accreditation of the curriculum.
Next a quick google led to an AP story posted at WTOP. Apparently the guy running this school is banned from heading schools in Maryland because a school he lead shut down abruptly in the 90s leaving students and the government in the lurch. Not only that, but two men listed as faculty on the University of Fairfax web site told reporters they never taught a course there!
I found a Washington Post article that goes into some detail.
Makes me worry now about (ISC)^2. They are currently engaging in joint marketing with the University of Fairfax. Basically they are giving their name and reputation to this guy. What do they say about it. Marc Thompson, VP at (ISC)^2 says Berlin’s “heart is in the right place” in spite of his checkered past. That’s right taking millions to offer education courses and then folding up shop is just a mistake and shouldn’t preclude you from offering more education courses in the future according to (ISC)^2.
I can’t conclude that this is a diploma mill. But it sure seems shady. Whether looking for training or returning to school you need to verify the accreditation of the school and its instructors.