BRANDON, Fla. (FOX 13) - Florida’s attorney general wants an alleged “diploma mill” based in Brandon to be shut down.
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody filed a court action in Hillsborough County to close Ellenwood Academy, LLC. following a string of complaints that recipients couldn’t obtain or maintain employment because of the fake diplomas. According to a press release from Moody’s office, the high school diplomas are not accepted at any school within the State University System.
The organization allegedly charged people $195 to enroll in a high school program and take an exam. However, it does not employ any faculty members or instruction for the consumers.
“There are no shortcuts to success, yet diploma mills continue to falsely market easy alternatives to the hard work it takes to earn an education,” Moody said in a release. “Students often enroll with the goal of obtaining a diploma to advance their careers, but often leave with a worthless piece of paper.
The Ellenwood Academy website claims to produce accredited high school diplomas. Following an investigation by the Attorney General’s Office, the organization required a passing score on a multiple-choice online exam that people can choose to retake as many times as they want. When they reach a passing score, provide identification and payment, Ellenwood would issue a diploma.
Between 2015 to 2017, more than 3,000 people enrolled in the program. The investigation concluded that the academy falsely claimed to be registered with the Florida Department of Education, and associated with the Accrediting Commission International, a non-governmental accrediting organization that is not recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
For information on earning an accredited high school diploma, the Attorney General’s Office recommends visiting the Florida Department of Education website.
Anyone who encounters a possible diploma mill or any other deceptive business practices are asked to report it by calling 1-866- 966-7226 or by visiting MyFloridaLegal.com.