Almeda University

Almeda University

Almeda University (possibly also called Almeda College or Almeda College & University [ [ Unaccredited colleges] , Oregon State Office of Degree Authorization, accessed March 20, 2008] ) is an unaccredited American institution that offers various academic degrees through distance education, including a "Life Experience Degree". Almeda was founded in 1997. [cite web|url =|publisher = Netcheck|title = Almeda University]

Programs and courses

According to its website, Almeda offers associate, bachelor and master degrees using "Prior Learning Assessment" and also master and doctorate programs in business and theology that require the completion of a thesis or dissertation. Almeda University also claims to offer over 1000 technical and business courses and certification preparation programs by e-learning.cite web|url = | title = Almeda University |publisher = Almeda University| accessdate = 2007-10-15]

Accreditation status and legality

Legally, Almeda University is a corporation registered on the Caribbean island of Nevis. Almeda claims accreditation by the Council for Distance Education Accreditation, Interfaith Education Ministries (IEM) and the Association for Online Academic Excellence (AOAEX); cite news | url= | title= Almeda University-Certifications and accreditations | publisher=Almeda University | date=2006 | first= | last= | accessdate = 2006-08-18] none of these are recognized by the United States Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. [cite news | url= | title=Accreditation Database and Information | publisher=Council for Higher Education Accreditation | date= | first= | last= | accessdate = 2006-08-18] On its website, Almeda states that its claimed sources of accreditation are not recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, with the results that students cannot receive U.S. federal loans or assistance under the GI Bill and Almeda degrees may not be recognized by academia or employers.

*Connecticut: According to the Connecticut Department of Higher Education, Almeda was ordered to cease operating in Connecticut in October, 2001. After an investigation in 2002 indicated that Almeda was continuing to advertise its programs in Connecticut, the Department of Higher Education sent Almeda a second cease and desist letter and referred the issue to the Connecticut Attorney General for possible legal action.cite web
url =
title = Actions against unlicensed colleges and private occupational schools in Connecticut Fall 2001-Spring 2003
publisher = Connecticut Department of Higher Education
accessdate = 2007-01-17
*Florida: In 2003 the Florida Department of Education made an agreement with Almeda to cease operating in the state. Although Floridians can still get a degree from the online university, Almeda warns Floridians that its degrees may not be valid for public employment in Florida.cite news
url =
title = University not recognized by state of Florida
publisher = NBC2
date = 2006-07-17
first = Kathryn
last = Simmons
accessdate = 2006-08-18
*Texas: Almeda is on the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Boardlist of "Institutions Whose Degrees are Illegal to Use in Texas."cite web
url =
title = Institutions Whose Degrees are Illegal to Use in Texas
publisher = Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board
accessdate = 2008-05-09
*Other states: Almeda's website also warns Almeda degrees may not be valid for public employment in Illinois, Oregon, New Jersey, North Dakota, Washington and Idaho.cite web
url =
title = Almeda Policies and Procedures
accessdate = 2006-10-04


Almeda's academic standards have been criticized by a variety of education organizations. According to "Bear's Guide to Earning Degrees by Distance Learning", Almeda College and University is a "nonwonderful" [Bear, John, Maria Bear (2003-01-01). "Bear's Guide to Earning Degrees by Distance Learning." pp. 59 Ten Speed Press, 215. ISBN 1-58008-431-1.] web-only university that offers degrees based on an assessment of a candidate's "life experience". Bear notes that Almeda states that it is accredited by the Association for Online Academic Excellence, but that that association is itself unrecognized. [Bear, John, Maria Bear (2003-01-01). "Bear's Guide to Earning Degrees by Distance Learning'.' pp. 187 Ten Speed Press, 215. ISBN 1-58008-431-1.] [cite news | url= | title=Accreditation Database and Information | publisher=Council for Higher Education Accreditation | date= | first= | last= | accessdate = 2006-08-18]

In 2004 the CBS affiliate in Albany, New York, ran a report on Almeda that featured Peter Brancato, who had filled out an application for an associate degree on behalf of his dog, Wally. Part of the "life experience" listed on the application was "Plays with the kids every day ... teaches them to interact better with each other ... Teaches them responsibilities like feeding the dog." Almeda granted Wally an associate's degree in childhood development with a course list including European culture, college algebra, American history, and public speaking.cite news | url= | title=Degrees for Sale | publisher=CBS6 | date=2004-02-19 | first= | last= | accessdate = 2006-08-18] In reply, Almeda claims Brancato perjured himself by creating a false identity using a fabricated name and date of birth. They write, "He completed an application that included a background of the following: Eight-years tutoring pre-K children, curriculum design and development, teaching coping skills, and volunteer coaching."cite web | url= | title=Perjury to prove a point | publisher=Almeda University | accessdate = 2006-10-20]

In 2005 "Wired News" included Almeda University in an article about educational accreditation and diploma mills.cite news | url=,1284,66476,00.html | title=Database Fights Diploma Mills | publisher=Wired News | date=Feb, 02, 2005 | first=Ryan | last=Singel | accessdate = 2006-08-18]

In 2006 a Naples, Florida, police officer was required to pay back a salary increase based on a degree from Almeda. Two Naples police officers were also fired after investigation showed that they bought diplomas from Almeda University.cite news
url =
title = Police officers fired over fake degrees
author = Kara Kenney
publisher = NBC2
date = 2006-07-17
accessdate = 2006-10-04
] On October 28, 2006, both officers were given their jobs back with back pay but received 10-day suspensions and were required to take an ethics course before the end of the year. [cite news
url =
title = Officers fired for online degrees rehired
author = Ryan Mills
publisher = Naples Daily News
date = 2006-10-28

According to Better Business Bureau (BBB) records, the Boise, Idaho address listed for Almeda University is a UPS Store (private mail box). Almeda University offered to provide their physical location to the BBB provided the BBB would not make it public. While the Better Business Bureau provides reports on Almeda University, Almeda is not a paid member of the BBB, however, Almeda does have a satisfactory record of complaint resolution.cite news
url =
title = Better Business Bureau (BBB) Reliability Report for Almeda University
publisher=Better Business Bureau
accessdate = 2006-10-14

According to the online shopping reliability tracking service,, since 2001 customers of Almeda have reported high levels of satisfaction in such categories as "Management Accessibility", "Customer Support", "On-time Delivery" and "Privacy Experience".cite web | url= | title=Customer Satisfaction Rating | publisher=ePublicEye | accessdate = 2006-10-30]


ee also

* Diploma mill
* List of unaccredited institutions of higher learning
* List of unrecognized accreditation associations of higher learning
* Educational accreditation

External links

* [ Almeda University official website]
* [ Database for Accreditation] in the United States
* [ City manager hears arguments in ex-officers' firings] 10/14/2006

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