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Non-recognised HEIs and Diploma Mills

Unrecognised higher education institutions are generally those that operate without a formal accreditation/authorisation/recognition status given by an official authority of a certain country.

Degrees or other qualifications from unaccredited institutions may not be accepted for access to further study or for employment purposes in the public or private sector. Some unaccredited institutions may be permitted to operate in the education market of a specific country – delivering programmes, enrolling students granting qualifications, but the qualifications do not form part of the recognised education system.

Qualifications made by an unrecognised institution in a particular country are generally not entitled to recognition in other countries. Importantly, this does not mean that all such institutions pursue fraudulent ends.

There is a distinct group of organisations, called Diploma Mills. Such organisations that claim fraudulently to be recognised awarding bodies, offer short duration programmes leading to qualifications without examination or assessment, and charge considerable sums of money for access and/or issuing the award.

The range of organisations working in this area is wide and varied; some organisations operate as functioning institutions granting qualifications that are not recognised nationally or internationally whereas other organisations duplicate or falsify qualification parchments.

With rare exceptions, every country regulates the recognition of educational institutions and the recognition of qualifications and identifies the characteristics and minimum quality requirements that these institutions must meet.

Further information:

Official lists of recognised/accredited higher education institutions for ENIC-NARIC countries are available on each country page. Please click on "Countries of the Networks", then on the name of the country of interest, and on the Recognised Higher Education Institutions section.