Degree Mill Scammer AlertPenn Foster is a Degree Mill Scam

H Review updated:

Penn Foster is one of those schools that tries to put a good front and has a one room call center that is there with a server to host a online college. The so called "degree" programs are worth about as much as the paper they are printed on and I feel their tactics are less honest than the typical degree mill. Thousands of complaints have been launched against Penn Foster around the world. They used a bait and switch type practice and are quick to profit off of selling debts to collect agencies, thus leaving the student with lost money, a collection agency chasing them, and damaged credit.

Customer service of Penn Foster is honestly laughable. The people who work the customer service must have also been former students of Penn Foster, because the most basic of questions and comprehension, they do not seem to understand. Get one on the phone and you won't know what they are and they will make you feel smart like a Rocket Scientist, but you will know that the company is paying less than minimum wage for the level of people they have working for them, you get what you pay for.

This is only my opinion and based on extensive research and if a school sounds to good to be true and there are more people complaining than listing positives, then avoid the school at all costs, which many are cropping up not to help you, they only want you money. These are fraud barriers who care nothing about you and those they deceive.


  • De
    DesElms Feb 12, 2010

    Whether or not you had bad customer service from Penn-Foster (and you may very well have... I'm not disputing that part of it), the fact is that Penn-Foster, no matter what might be its faults, is by no stretch of the imagination a "Diploma Mill."

    Perhaps you're using the term "diploma mill" wrongly... maybe you don't know what it actually means or something (just a surmise). A "diploma mill" or "degree mill" is a fake college or university which will confer a degree or diploma to someone just for paying a fee; and requiring little or no real academic work.

    Penn-Foster is a real school... accredited by an agency approved by the US Department of Education (USDE) and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)... either or both of which are the only agencies in the US which are capable of legitimately approving educational accreditors.

    I fear you're only calling it a diploma mill because you mistakenly believe that the terms "diploma mill" or "degree mill" may be applied to any college or university which does things badly, or in some other way screws up. Even fully accredited schools can screw-up. But that doesn't make them "diploma mills" or "degree mills."

    Penn-Foster (and I'm assuming that you're talking about the *REAL* Penn-Foster, and not some diploma/degree-mill that is using a web site to PRETEND to be Penn-Fosters (some diploma/degree-mills do that)), is more of a "career college" sort of place... albeit fully distance learning. It is not considered an "academic" institution in the same sense as are any of the top, regionally-accredited colleges/universities in the US. But Penn-Foster is a completely legitimate. It operates a career school of the sort that one sees advertised on daytime television, and which offers diplomas in medical transcription, appliance repair... stuff like that. But it also has a real college which offers associates degrees in things like accounting, or CIS, or graphic design, etc.; and it also offers a couple of bachelors degrees... one in criminal justice, and another in business management. And, believe me, they're *REAL* degrees, for which you must work for two years (in the case of the associates degrees), or four years (in the case of the bachelors degrees).

    Its most direct competitor, if I had to name one, would be Ashworth College, which also offers career diplomas as well as some actual degrees. And Ashworth is accredited by the very same agency (DETC) which accredits Penn-Foster.

    So, please, stop calling Penn-Foster a "diploma mill" or a "degree mill." It may or may not be the best career-school/college out there, but it's accredited and legitimate, so it can't be, by definition, a diploma mill.

    It does, however, sound like something bad has happened, in your case. Assuming your complaint is legitimate, and that you're not just a crazy person or something like that, then I guarantee that you will get satisfaction if you contact Penn-Foster reasonably and calmly, ask for a supervisor, and explain the problem. If you have no luck doing it (and, again, assuming you're not a crazy person or something like that), then I'd be only too happy to do it for you, on your behalf. I've spoken to the folks at Penn-Foster before, and I know who to ask for there. If you'd like to contact me about it, I'll be only too happy to try to help you... and not charge you anything for it.

    Let me know.

    Gregg L. DesElms
    Napa, California USA
    gregg at greggdeselms dot com

    0 Votes
  • Karleen Feb 12, 2010
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Penn Foster is DETC accredited, so they are legitimate, not a degree mill. Perhaps you just got stuck with a bad employee.

    0 Votes
  • Co
    coolladyfreetogo Feb 23, 2010

    penn foster is a joke .people owe money for tution they never recieved and some was paying there on tution and penn still asking for more money .So how can u owe for a tution u paying out of pocket .

    -1 Votes
  • St
    Stathis37 Jan 16, 2016
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    About Us-Penn Foster has Regional and National
    Penn Foster Career School, College, and High School have all met the high
    standards of integrity and performance set by the Distance Education Accrediting
    Commission (DEAC) in Washington, D.C. The DEAC is listed by the U.S.
    Department of Education as a nationally recognized accrediting agency.
    The Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council is also
    a recognized member of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation
    Penn Foster Career School is regionally accredited for non-degree granting
    postsecondary programs, and Penn Foster High School is accredited for grades 9
    through adult, by the Commission on Secondary Schools of the Middle States
    Association of Colleges and Schools, 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA.
    Penn Foster Career School has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the
    International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).
    In obtaining this accreditation, the Penn Foster Career School has demonstrated
    that it complies with the ANSI/IACET Standard which is recognized internationally
    as a standard of good practice. As a result of their Authorized Provider status,
    Penn Foster Career School is authorized to offer IACET CEUs for its programs
    that qualify under the ANSI/IACET Standard.
    Penn Foster College's Veterinary Technician Associate Degree is accredited by the
    American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) as a program for educating
    veterinary technicians.
    The Penn Foster College Medical Assistant Associate Degree Program is
    accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).

    About Us-Penn Foster has Regional and National
    College Credit Recommendations
    The American Council on Education’s College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE CREDIT) has
    evaluated and recommended college credit for many Penn Foster College courses. The American
    Council on Education, the major coordinating body for all the nation’s higher education institutions,
    seeks to provide leadership and a unifying voice on key higher education issues and to influence
    public policy through advocacy, research, and program initiatives. For more information, visit the ACE
    CREDIT website at
    Veterans Education Benefits
    All Penn Foster programs are affiliated with DANTES, which qualifies U.S. military personnel for tuition
    All Penn Foster College programs and many Penn Foster Career School and High School programs
    are approved for veterans education benefits. Reservists may also qualify for veterans education
    benefits. If you think you may be eligible, check with your local or regional
    VA office.
    Better Business Bureau
    Penn Foster is a Better Business Bureau accredited business with a BBB Rating
    of A+.

    Personally, I'm enrolled student at the Freelance Writer Program and it needs a lot of devotion to pass all the exams. It is a very demanding program and it won't be easy to get the diploma. Most of the writing exams are worthwhile (including writing fiction and non-fiction, articles, travel articles, and certainly is not a waste of time and money. However, many universities accepting this program towards a bachelor degree in English.
    Here are the following postsecondary institutions that accepted both high school's and Career School's diplomas:

    Postsecondary institutions where Penn Foster High School graduates have enrolled 1. Aiken Technical College, SC 2. Allied Medical School, CA 3. American Intercontinental University, TX 4. Art Institute (Online) 5. Art Institute of Michigan, MI 6. Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, NC 7. Ashford University, IA 8. Atlanta Metropolitan College, GA 9. Barton College, NC 10.Bay Mills Community College, MI 11.Brevard College, FL 12.Brown Mackie College, IN 13.Bryant University, RI 14.Bucks County Community College, PA 15.CalCoast University, CA 16.Caldwell Community College, NC 17.Capri College, IA 18.Cedar Valley College, TX 19.Central Michigan University, MI 20.Cincinnati State College, OH 21.Cisco Junior College, TX 22.Clackamas Community College, OR 23.Clark College, WA 24.Chandler Gilbert Community College, AZ 25.Grand Canyon University, AZ 26.Grayson Community College, TX 27.College of the Albemarle, NC 28.Concorde Career College, CA 29.Colorado Mountain College, CO 30.(CUNY) Queensborough Community College, NY 31.Cypress College, CA 32.Daytona Beach Community College, FL 33.Delaware Tech Community College 34.DeVry University 35.Dona Ana Branch Community College, NM 36.Durham Tech Community College, NC 37.El Paso Community College, TX 38.Elizabeth City University, NC 39.EMS Training Center of South Nevada, NV 40.Everest College, CA 41.Everest University, FL 42.Evergreen State College, WA 43.Faulkner State College, AL 44.Fayetteville Technical Community College, NC 45.Ferris State University, MI 46.Flathead Valley Community College, MT

    47.Front Range Community College, CO 48.Garden City Community College, KS 49.George Stone Technical College, FL 50.Georgia Perimeter College, GA 51.Glendale Community College, CA 52.Golden West Community College, CA 53.Grantham University, KS 54.Great Basin College, NV 55.Guidance Helicopters 56.Gulf Coast Community College, FL 57.Gwinnett Technical College, GA 58.Harold Washington College, IL 59.Harper College, IL 60.Harrisburg Area Community College, PA 61.Hazard Community & Technical College, KY 62.Hudson County Community College, NJ 63.ITT Tech, NY 64.Ivy Tech Community College, IN 65.J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, VA 66.Jamestown College, ND 67.John Tyler Community College, VA 68.Joliet Junior College, IL 69.Kaplan University (Online) 70.Kirtland Community College, MI 71.Kishwaukee College, IL 72.Le Cordon Blue Culinary School 73.Lewis & Clark State College, ID 74.Lincoln Technical Institute, PA 75.Lord Fairfax Community College, VA 76.Los Angeles Pierce College, CA 77.Madisonville Community College, KY 78.Maryville University, MO 79.McCann School of Business and Technology, PA 80.MedVance Institute, FL 81.Merrimack College, MA 82.Mesa Community College 83.Metro Community College, NE 84.Metropolitan State College, CO 85.Middle Tennessee State University, TN 86.Middlesex Community College, MA 87.Midland Technical College, SC 88.Moberly Area Community College, MO 89.Monroe College, NY 90.Montgomery College, MD 91.Morton College, IL 92.Mount Wachusett Community College, MA 93.National College, VA 94.New Hampshire Community Technical College, NH 95.Northeast Community College, NE 96.Northeast Institute of Technology, ME 97.Northampton Community College, PA 98.Northwest Technical College, MN 99.Northwestern State University, LA 100O.akland Community College, CA

    101Ohio State University, OH 102Ozark Technical Community College, MO 103Palm Beach Community College, FL 104Paris Junior College, TX 105Pasco-Hernando Community College, FL 106Pearl River Community College, MS 107Penn Foster Career School, PA 108Penn Foster College, AZ 109Penn Valley Community College, MO 110Piedmont Community College, NC 111Pine Technical College, MN 112Prairie State College, IL 113Pulaski Technical College, AR 114R.oss Medical School, MI 115S.alter School, MA 116San Antonio Community College, TX 117Santa Fe Community College, NM 118Somerset Community College, KY 119S.outh University, FL 120South University, GA 121Southeastern Community College, IA 122Southeastern Louisiana University, LA 123Southwest Wisconsin Technical College, WI 124Southwestern Michigan College, MI 125Spencerian Nursing College, KY 126Spokane Community College, WA 127S.t. Mary's University, TX 128Strayer University, DC 129S.tate College of Florida 130(.SUNY) Dutchess Community College, NY 131Tarrant County College, TX 132Texarkana College, TX 133Texas Ranger College, TX 134Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology, PA 135Tidewater Community College, VA 136TUI University, CA 137University of Alabama, AL 138University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), CA 139University of Maryland, MD 140University of Massachusetts, MA 141University of Helena-University of Phoenix, AZ 142University of the Virgin Islands, VI 143Vancouver School of Nursing, BC 144Volunteer State Community College, TN 145Walden University, MN 146Walla Walla Community College, WA 147Washington State Community College, OH 148Wayne State University, MI 149West Valley Community College, CA 150Wilber Wright College, IL 151York Technical College, SC 152Yuba Community College, CA

    Penn Foster College, Career School, and High School have a pure mission to reduce the cost of studies and help not only Americans, but also people from around the world to get a career training, to graduate from high school, and complete an affordable degree, which is a dream of every human being.
    Please, respect people who are dedicating their time to learn a profession and start a career during this global socioeconomical cricis.
    I would highly recommend to everyone to enroll today and start learning. Most of the books are in digital form, and a few books will be delivered as well whether you're an American citizen, or from outside of the United States at your home. Instructors are always eager to help you with feedback through a message from your student portal.
    Think again before reviewing and make comments for Penn Foster
    Best Regards,

    0 Votes
  • Va
    Val2018 Sep 21, 2018

    @Stathis37 I agree with you. I am a student at Penn Foster as well, and I was surprised at how challenging their coursework was. I will admit, at first I thought it would be easy because of the "bad " reviews and how affordable it was, but I really do believe that if you put in the work you will receive a top-notch education. I'm not sure about all of the programs, but my instructors have high-level degrees. I notice their titles on the supplemental material. As for customer service, I have never had a problem getting a hold of anyone or of interacting with them. The school pretty much operates like any other college, if you don't pay your tuition you don't get your degree/diploma/certificate. Overall, I think it's a great place to go for an affordable education. My experience has been nothing but positive so far. Penn foster, keep up the good work!!!

    -1 Votes

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