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General Writing and Grammar Help/meaing of the word "diploma mill"

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Question
Dear Ted,
I know the meaning of the word "diploma mill" is the following: an unaccredited school or college that grants relatively worthless diplomas, as for a fee. Another definition of "diploma mill" is the following: an institution or organization that grants large numbers of educational degrees based on inadequate or inferior education and assessment of the recipients . Can the word "diploma mill" refer to kindergartens, primary schools, junior high schools and high schools, or does it only refer to colleges? After all, some private kindergartens, primary schools, junior high schools and high schools also charge high tuition and only care about making money.
Thanks,
Glen

Answer
Dear Glen:

I know the meaning of the word "diploma mill" is the following: an unaccredited
school or college that grants relatively worthless diplomas, as for a fee.
Another definition of "diploma mill" is the following: an institution or
organization that grants large numbers of educational degrees based on
inadequate or inferior education and assessment of the recipients . Can the word
"diploma mill" refer to kindergartens, primary schools, junior high schools and
high schools, or does it only refer to colleges? After all, some private
kindergartens, primary schools, junior high schools and high schools also charge
high tuition and only care about making money.

*** What an interesting question!  Although I have never heard the term "diploma mill" used to describe any institution other than one of higher education, your point is a good one.  As more and more of these private elementary and secondary schools come into being, someone will give them a derogatory name like "diploma mill."  I just don't think it has happened yet.  

I want to add another point about your definition of higher education "diploma mills."  Columbia University, an Ivy League school in New York City, has an outstanding reputation.  However, one division of the university is called "Teachers College."  The division was named a "diploma mill," because it awards hundreds of doctorates in the field of education.  The university itself has very high standards, but this particular college is not well-respected.

Ted

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Ted Nesbitt

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I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

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B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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