Education may list legit schools

The Education Department has agreed to look into creating a list, probably online, of accredited colleges and universities.

Officials say it would help prospective students, parents and employers identify institutions that are recognized as offering legitimate degrees.

The department does not plan to compile a list of unaccredited institutions, many of which are viewed by states and accrediting agencies as diploma mills rather than as legitimate colleges and universities.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), chairwoman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, had urged the department to create such a list and publish it on the Internet. Collins announced this week that Education officials have agreed to move ahead on the project.

In January, Collins and Education Secretary Rod Paige held a meeting billed as a "diploma-mill summit" to discuss ways for Congress, federal agencies and states to eliminate the use of fake diplomas and sham institutions to gain employment and job promotions.

Sally Stroup, assistant secretary for post-secondary education, will head the project.

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