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July 23, 2003
Lawmakers Call for Look at Use of Bogus Degrees
Two lawmakers are asking the investigative arm of Congress to examine the use of fake credentials from "diploma mills" to obtain federal jobs and promotions and whether federal funds are paying for the practice, the Washington Post reports.

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Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Rep. Thomas M. Davis III, R-Va., are chairs of congressional committees that oversee federal workplace policies and have asked the General Accounting Office to investigate the use of "diploma mills" in the federal workforce.

Diploma mills earned their reputation because they are often unaccredited and usually award degrees for a fee instead of academic achievement, the newspaper reports.

Recent news reports saying a high-ranking official in the Department of Homeland Security had obtained her bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees from an unaccredited university may have prompted the lawmakers' request for an inquiry, according to the newspaper. The department tells the newspaper that the employee is on paid leave while officials investigate the matter.

"There is no place for diploma mill degree holders to work in our government, especially when we are talking about homeland security," says Davis. "We must and will get to the bottom of this situation."

The lawmakers want to know whether it is a widespread practice in the federal workforce and whether federal funds are paying for the degrees.

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