Do employees love or hate working at Costco Wholesale? ... WARNING: If you have a desire to work hard, earn respect, are college educated ... choice b/c you have no skill or don't have a degree (in some cases no high school diploma). ...
IB Diploma Programme
The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) is a two-year educational programme primarily aimed at students aged 16–19 that provides an internationally accepted qualification for entry into higher education, and is recognized by many universities worldwide. It was developed in the early to mid-1960s in Geneva by a group of international educators. Following a six-year pilot programme ending in 1975, a bilingual diploma was established.
Administered by the International Baccalaureate (IB), the IBDP is currently taught in English, French or Spanish. In order to participate in the IBDP, students must attend an IB school. IBDP students complete assessments in six subjects from the six different subject groups, and complete three core requirements. Subjects are assessed using both internal and external assessments, and courses finish with an externally assessed series of examinations, usually consisting of two or three timed written examinations. Internal assessment varies by subject (there may be oral presentations, practical work, or written works) and in most cases is initially graded by the classroom teacher, whose grades are then verified or modified, as necessary, by an appointed, external moderator.
Generally the IBDP has been well received. It has been commended for introducing interdisciplinary thinking to students. In the United Kingdom, The Guardian newspaper claims that the IBDP is "more academically challenging and broader than three or four A-levels"; however, a pledge to allow children in all areas to study the IBDP was shelved amid concerns that a "two-tier" education system was emerging as the growth in IB was driven by private schools and sixth form colleges. Despite the Guardian's article and the internationally recognised difficulty of the IB, universities in the UK do not recognise this and have a much higher requirement from an IB student than an A-level student. As a result, IB students who have much higher qualifications than A-level students will usually find it more difficult to get into the university of their choice. For the UK only, taking the IB with its six subjects, EE, TOK and CAS is actually a disadvantage compared to sitting three A-levels.
In 1948 the "Conference of Internationally-minded Schools" asked the International School of Geneva (Ecolint) to create an international schools program. When he became director of Ecolint's English division, Desmond Cole-Baker began to develop the idea; and in 1962 his colleague Robert Leach organised a conference in Geneva, at which the term "International Baccalaureate" was first mentioned. An American social studies teacher, Leach organized the conference—with a $2500 grant from UNESCO—which was attended by observers from European schools and Unesco. Writing about the genesis of the International Baccalaureate in Schools Across Frontiers, Alec Peterson credits Leach as "the original promoter of the International Baccalaureate." At the end of the conference Unesco funded the International School Association with an additional $10,000 which was inadequate to do more than produce a few papers, or bring teachers together for meetings.
By 1964, international educators such as Alec Peterson (Director of the Department of Education at Oxford University), Harlan Hanson (Director of the College Board Advanced Placement Program), Desmond Cole (Director of United Nations International School in New York) and Desmond Cole-Baker (Head of the International School of Geneva) founded the International Schools Examination Syndicate (ISES). Cole and Hanson brought to the group experience with college entrance examinations in the United States, and Hanson, in particular brought his experience from a long relationship with the College Board, all of which were welcome additions. According to Peterson, "the breakthrough in the history of the IB" came in 1965 with a grant from the Twentieth Century Fund who commissioned Martin Mayer, author of The Schools, to produce a report on the feasibility of establishing a common curriculum and examination for international schools, which would be acceptable for entry to universities world-wide. This led to conferences involving Ecolint, the United World College of the Atlantic (Atlantic College), and others in the spring and fall of 1965, at which details about the curriculum for the Diploma Programme were discussed and agreed upon.
The Ford Foundation grant, secured in 1966, funded Peterson's study at Oxford University which focused on three issues: a comparative analysis of "secondary educational programmes in European countries...in cooperation with the Council of Europe"; university expectations for secondary students intending to enter university; and a "statistical comparison of IB pilot examination results with...national school leaving examinations such as British A Levels and US College Board (AP) Tests." As a result of the study and the curriculum model developed at Atlantic College, Peterson initiated the pattern of combining "general education with specialization", which melded with the curriculum of the United States and Canada, and became the "curriculum framework" proposed at the UNESCO conference in Geneva in 1967. Late in 1967, ISES was restructured, renamed the IB Council of Foundation, and John Goormaghtigh became the first President in January 1968. In 1967 the group, that by then included Ralph Tyler, identified eight schools to be used for the experimentation of the curriculum.
In 1968, the IB headquarters were officially established in Geneva, Switzerland for the development and maintenance of the IBDP. Alec Peterson became IBO's first Director General, and in 1968 twelve schools in twelve countries participated in the IBDP, including Atlantic College and UNIS of New York. The aim of the IB was to "provide an internationally acceptable university admissions qualification suitable for the growing mobile population of young people whose parents were part of the world of diplomacy, international and multi-national organizations."
The first six years the IB offered the IB Diploma Programme is referred to as the "experimental period". The experimental period was designed to extend for six years and to include a limited population of students. Each school was to be inspected by ISES or IBO and had be school approved by their government. The experimental period ended in 1975, and in that year the International Baccalaureate North America (IBNA) was established as a separate entity, allowing the funding for implementation of the IBDP to remain in the country rather than being sent to Geneva. The first official guide to the programme containing its syllabus and official assessment information, was published in 1970 and included the theory of knowledge course. The extended essay was introduced in 1978, but creativity, action, service (CAS), although mentioned in guides beforehand, was not specifically identified in the guide until 1989.
In 1980, responding to criticism that the "internationalism" was perceived as "Eurocentric", the IB hosted a seminar in Singapore with the goal of incorporating Asian culture and education into the IB curriculum. In 1982 the Standing Conference of Heads of IB Schools took steps to modify the Eurocentrism in the curriculum. The same year the Japanese government also hosted a science conference for IBO "as a token of Japanese interest in the various dimensions of the IB."
From the start, all subjects of the IB Diploma Programme were available in English and French; and it was mandatory for all students to study both a first and a second language. In 1974 bilingual diplomas were introduced that allowed students to take one or more of their humanities or science subjects in a language other than their first. The IB Diploma Programme subjects became available in Spanish in 1983.
To be awarded an IB Diploma, a candidate must fulfill three core requirements, in addition to passing his or her subject examinations:
Students who pursue the IB Diploma must take six subjects, one from each of subject groups 1–5, and either one from group 6 or a permitted substitute from one of the other groups, as described below. Either three or four subjects must be taken at Higher level (HL) and the rest at Standard level (SL). The IB recommends a minimum of 240 hours of instructional time for HL courses and 150 hours for SL courses.
While the IB encourages students to pursue the full IB diploma, the "substantial workload require a great deal of commitment, organization, and initiative". If they wish, students may instead choose to register for one or more individual IB subjects, without the core requirements. Such students will not receive the full Diploma.
The six IBDP subject groups and course offerings are summarised below. More information about the subject groups and individual courses can be found at the respective subject group articles:
Environmental systems and societies SL is a transdisciplinary course designed to meet the diploma requirements for groups 3 and 4.
The IB is developing a pilot online version of the IBDP and currently offers several online courses to IBDP students. Eventually, the IB expects to offer their online courses to any student who wishes to register. Additionally, the IB has developed pilot courses that include world religions, sports, exercise and health sciences, dance, and a transdisciplinary pilot course, text and performance.
All subjects (with the exception of CAS) are assessed using both internal and external assessors. The externally assessed examinations are given worldwide in May (usually for Northern Hemisphere schools) and in November (usually for Southern Hemisphere schools). Each exam usually consists of two or three papers, generally written on the same or successive weekdays. The different papers may have different forms of questions, or they may focus on different areas of the subject syllabus. For example, in Chemistry SL, paper 1 has multiple choice questions, paper 2 has extended response questions, and paper 3 focuses on the "Option(s)" selected by the teacher. The grading of all external assessments is done by independent examiners appointed by the IB.
The nature of the internal assessment (IA) varies by subject. There may be oral presentations (used in languages), practical work (in experimental sciences and performing arts), or written works. Internal assessment accounts for 20 to 50 percent of the mark awarded for each subject and is marked by a teacher in the school. A sample of at least five per subject at each level will also be graded by a moderator appointed by the IB, in a process called external moderation of internal assessment.
Points are awarded from 1 to 7, with 7 being equal to A*, 6 equal to A, and so on. Up to three additional points are awarded depending on the grades achieved in the extended essay and theory of knowledge, so the maximum possible point total in the IBDP is 45. The global pass rate for the IB diploma is approximately 80%. In order to receive an IB diploma, candidates must receive a minimum of 24 points or an average of four (or C) out of a possible seven points for six subjects. Candidates must also receive a minimum of 12 points from their Higher Level subjects and a minimum of 9 points from their Standard Level subjects. Additionally, candidates must complete all of the requirements for the EE, CAS and TOK. Failing conditions that will prevent a student from being awarded a diploma, regardless of points received, are non-completion of CAS, more than three scores of 3 or below, not meeting the specific points required for Higher Level or Standard Level subjects, or plagiarism.
Candidates who successfully complete all the requirements of the IB Diploma Programme and one or more of the following combinations are eligible to receive a bilingual diploma: two languages A1, a language A1 taken with a language A2, a group 3 or 4 subject taken in a language other than the candidate's language A1, or an extended essay in a group 3 or group 4 subject written in a language other than the candidate's language A1. IB certificates are issued to indicate completion of diploma courses and exams for non-diploma candidate students.
Where standard assessment conditions could put a student with special educational needs at a disadvantage, special arrangements may be authorized. The Candidates with Special Assessment Needs publication contains information regarding procedures and arrangements for students with special needs.
To offer the IB Diploma Programme, an institution must go through an application process, and during that period the teachers undergo training in the IB. At the end of the application process, IB conducts an authorization visit. Once a school is authorized to offer the IBDP, an annual fee guarantees the school ongoing support from the IB, the ability to display the IB logo and access to the Online Curriculum Centre (OCC) and the IB Information System (IBIS). The OCC provides information, resources and support for IB teachers and coordinators. IBIS is a database used by IB coordinators. Other IB fees also include student registration and individual Diploma subject examination fees.
IB diploma is recognized in 75 countries at over 2000 universities, and the IB has a search directory on their website, although they advise students to check directly with each university for the recognition policy. The IB also maintains a list of universities offering scholarships to IBDP graduates under conditions specified by each higher education institution, including 58 non-highly selective colleges and universities in the U.S. The following is an overview of university recognition policies in various countries.
For the purposes of university admissions in Austria, the IB diploma is considered a foreign secondary school leaving certificate, even if the IB school issuing the diploma is located in the country. The admission decisions are at the discretion of the higher education institutions. In Finland, the IB Diploma gives the same qualification for matriculation as the national matriculation examination; the core requirements differ very little although the Finnish degree has more electives and languages are a larger part of the final grading. In France, the IBDP is one of the foreign diplomas which allow students access into French universities. Germany sets certain conditions for the IB diploma to be validated (a foreign language at minimum A2 Standard Level, Mathematics standard level minimum, and at least one Science or Mathematics at Higher Level). German International Baccalaureate students in some schools are able to earn a 'bilingual diploma' which gains them access to German universities; half of the classes in this programme are held in German. The Italian Ministry of Education (Miur) recognises the IB diploma as academically equivalent to the national diploma, provided the curriculum includes the Italian language and the particular IB programme is recognized for H.E.D. matriculation in Italy. Spain recognizes the IB diploma as academically equivalent to "Titulo de bachillerato español". Starting 1 June 2008, IB Diploma holders no longer need to pass the University Entrance Examination to be admitted to Spanish Universities. Turkish universities recognize the IB diploma but all applicants are required by law to take the university entrance examinations. According to the IB, there are two universities in Russia that officially recognise the IB diploma subject to certain guidelines. The Russian Ministry of Education considers the IB diploma issued by state-accredited IB schools in Russia equivalent to the certificate of secondary (complete) general education (attestat). In the United Kingdom, UCAS publishes a University entrance tariff table that converts IB and other qualifications into standardised "Tariff points" but this tariff is not binding, so institutions are free to set minimum entry requirements for IB candidates that are not the same as those for A level. Most universities in the UK will have much higher requirements for IB students than A-level students, requiring, for instance, four As and two Bs from an IB student, whereas an A-level student will only need an ABB.
Although every university in Australia recognizes the IB diploma, entry criteria differ between universities. Some universities accept students on their IB point count, while others require the points to be converted and in most states this is based on the Equivalent National Tertiary Entry Rank (ENTER). In Queensland, IBDP scores are converted to a QTAC scale to determine selection rank.
In the United States, institutions of higher education set their own admission and credit policies for IB diploma recognition. Colorado and Texas have legislation requiring universities to adopt and implement policy which awards college credit to students who have successfully completed the IBDP or the much larger Advanced Placement exams of the College Board. In Canada, IB North America publishes a IB Recognition Policy Summary for Canadian Universities. Peruvian universities do not officially recognize the IB Diploma. However, the Ministry of Education may grant partial equivalence to national diploma to students who have satisfactorily completed the fourth year of high school in the country.
In Hong Kong, IB diploma students may apply to universities as non-JUPAS (Joint University Programmes Admissions System. Currently the People's Republic of China does not formally recognize the IB diploma for university qualification. In the 2008–2009 prospectus in Singapore, the National University of Singapore (NUS) recognises the IBDP as a high school qualification for Singapore universities. University requirements are as follows: 3 HL subjects with scores of 5 or better, 2 SL subjects with scores of 4 or better, and a grade of 4 or better in English A, Standard Level. In India, the Association of Indian Universities recognises the IBDP as an entry qualification to all universities in India provided that the applicants include a document from the IB detailing percentage equivalency and specific course requirements for admission to medical and engineering programs are satisfied.
The IBDP was described as "a rigorous, off-the-shelf curriculum recognized by universities around the world” when it was featured in the December 10, 2006 edition of Time magazine titled How to bring our schools out of the 20th Century. The IBDP was also featured in the summer 2002 edition of American Educator, where Robert Rothman described it as "a good example of an effective, instructionally sound, exam-based system." Howard Gardner, a professor of educational psychology at Harvard University, said that the IBDP curriculum is "less parochial than most American efforts" and helps students "think critically, synthesize knowledge, reflect on their own thought processes and get their feet wet in interdisciplinary thinking." An admissions officer at Brown University claims the IBDP garners widespread respect.
In the United Kingdom, the IBDP is "regarded as more academically challenging and broader than three or four A-levels" according to an article in the Guardian. In 2006, government ministers provided funding so that "every local authority in England could have at least one centre offering sixth-formers the chance to do the IB." In 2008, then Children's Secretary Ed Balls abandoned a "flagship Tony Blair pledge to allow children in all areas to study IB." Fears of a "two-tier" education system further dividing education between the rich and the poor emerged as the growth in IB is driven by private schools and sixth-form colleges.
In the United States, criticism of the IBDP has centered around the claim by opponents to the program that it is anti-American, according to The New York Times. Early funding from UNESCO, and the organization's ties to the United Nations are cited as objectionable. The cost of the program is also considered to be too high. In 2012, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, the school board voted to eliminate all IB programmes in the district.
Costco Wholesale Corporation is a membership-only warehouse club that provides a wide selection of merchandise. As of July 2012[update], it is the second largest retailer in the United States, the seventh largest retailer in the world and the largest membership warehouse club chain in the United States.
Costco is headquartered in Issaquah, Washington, United States and was founded in 1976 in San Diego, CA with its first warehouse in Seattle. Today Costco has a total of 626 locations in the United Kingdom (25), Australia (3), Canada (85), Mexico (33), Taiwan (9), South Korea (9), Japan (15), and the United States (449).
Founded by James (Jim) Sinegal and Jeffrey H. Brotman, Costco opened its first warehouse in Seattle, Washington, on September 15, 1983. Sinegal had started in wholesale distribution by working for Sol Price at both FedMart and Price Club. Brotman, an attorney from an old Seattle retailing family, had also been involved in retail distribution from an early age.][
Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton had plans to merge Sam's Club with Price Club. In 1993, however, Costco merged with Price Club (called Club Price in the Canadian province of Quebec). Costco's business model and size were similar to those of Price Club, which was founded by Sol and Robert Price in 1976 in San Diego, California. Thus, the combined company, PriceCostco, was effectively double the size of each of its parents. Just after the merger, PriceCostco had 206 locations generating $16 billion in annual sales. PriceCostco was initially led by executives from both companies, but then Sol and his son Robert Price founded Price Enterprises and left Costco in December 1994.
In 1993, when growing competition threatened both Price Club and Costco Wholesale, they entered into a partial merger just after Price’s earnings dropped to 40%. The new company, named PriceCostco, Inc., focused heavily on international expansion, opening stores in Mexico, South Korea, and England. Despite best efforts to recover losses, sales continued to drop. Disagreement between the two leaders, Robert Price and Jim Sinegal, regarding company direction and recovery policies soon left the merger in tatters.
In 1994, the breakup was formally announced. Sinegal continued to manage PriceCostco while Price’s breakaway company was named as Price Enterprises.
The first Price Club location was opened in 1976 in an old airplane hangar, previously owned by Howard Hughes, and is still in operation today (Warehouse No. 401, located on Morena Boulevard in San Diego).
In 1997, the company changed its name to Costco Wholesale and all Price Club locations were rebranded Costco.
CNBC premiered its documentary "The Costco Craze: Inside the Warehouse Giant" on April 26, 2012.
On March 26, 2001, Retalix Ltd. announced the signing of an agreement with the Costco Wholesale Corporation that called for the installation of the company's StoreLine Fuel software solutions across 152 Costco retail fuel outlets in the U.S.
In the United States, the main competitors operating membership warehouses are Sam's Club and BJ's Wholesale Club. Although Sam's Club has more warehouses than Costco, Costco has higher total sales volume. Costco employs about 174,000 full and part-time employees. As of February 2013[update], Costco had 68.2 million members.
Costco was the first company to grow from zero to $3 billion in sales in less than six years. For the fiscal year ending on August 31, 2012, the company's sales totaled $97.062 billion, with $1.709 billion net profit. Costco is 24th on the 2012 Fortune 500. The ACSI (The American Customer Satisfaction Index) named Costco number one in the specialty retail store industry with a score of 83 in Q4 2008.
As of October 2010[update], Costco's board of directors is chaired by co-founder Jeffrey H. Brotman and includes three officers of the company: CEO/co-founder James D. Sinegal, President/COO W. Craig Jelinek, and CFO Richard A. Galanti. There are also eleven independent directors:
In the United States, Costco is closed on seven holidays:
Costco focuses on selling products at low prices, often at very high volume. These goods are usually bulk-packaged and marketed primarily to large families and businesses. Furthermore, Costco does not carry multiple brands or varieties where the item is essentially the same except when it has a house brand to sell, typically under the Kirkland Signature label. This results in a high volume of sales from a single vendor, allowing further reductions in price, and reducing marketing costs. If Costco management feels the wholesale price of a product is too high, they will refuse to stock the product. For example, on November 16, 2009, Costco announced that it would stop selling Coca-Cola products because the soft-drink maker refused to lower its wholesale prices. Costco resumed selling Coca-Cola products on December 14, 2009. Costco also saves money by not stocking extra bags or packing materials; to carry out their goods, customers must bring their own bags or use the merchandise shipping boxes from the company's outside vendors.
Lighting costs are reduced on sunny days, as most Costco locations have several skylights. During the day, electronic light meters measure how much light is coming in the skylights and turn off an appropriate percentage of the interior lights. During a typical sunny day, it is very common for the center section of the warehouse to have no interior lights powered on.
Most products are delivered to the warehouse on shipping pallets and these pallets are used to display products for sale on the warehouse floor. This contrasts with retail stores that break down pallets and stock individual products on shelves. Costco limits its price markup on items to 15%.
Costco is only open to members and their guests, except for purchases of liquor and gasoline in some US states because of state law; and prescription drugs because of federal law. Memberships must be purchased in advance for one year. Purchases made at Costco's website do not require a membership; however, a 5% surcharge is added to purchases made by non-members. Purchases made with Costco Cash Cards also do not require a membership, and there is no surcharge. Canadian, United Kingdom and United States Costco locations only accept American Express, PIN-based debit cards (Interac in Canada), Costco credit cards, Costco Cash Cards, cash, checks, and EBT cards (food stamps). While Costco welcomes members to bring up to two guests, only the members may pay for items. American Express is the only accepted credit card (in the United States, Canada, and Japan) because they charge Costco very low interchange fees (a percentage of revenue from total sales made); as Costco's margins are low in comparison to other retailers][. Costco accepts Flexible spending account (FSA) debit cards for qualifying purchases at the pharmacy and optical departments in the US. Costco.com accepts the American Express, Visa, MasterCard, and Discover cards. The website also accepts Bill Me Later accounts for payment.
As of November 2011[update], membership fees at Costco are $55 per year for a Gold Star (individual) or Business membership, which can be upgraded to Executive membership for an additional $55 per year. Along with the additional benefits the executive membership offers (e.g. home loans, car insurance, check printing services) Executive members also receive an annual "2% Rewards Check" of up to $750.00 from Costco on all purchases made, excluding select items such as gasoline, tobacco, stamps and in some states, alcohol.
In Canada, membership is CDN $55.00 a year for a Gold Star membership and includes a card for a spouse, or CDN $110.00 a year for an Executive membership.
In the United Kingdom, membership is restricted to certain groups only. Trade membership is available to the owners or managers of businesses for £20.00 (plus VAT). Trade members receive a complimentary spouse/partner card, and can purchase additional cards (at a cost of £12+VAT each) for employees. Qualified professionals such as solicitors, magistrates, accountants and engineers, as well as employees in certain specific sectors (such as medical services, education, local government, the civil service, airlines and banking) may apply for individual membership, which costs £25 including a spouse/partner card. A Costco card issued in another country is valid in the U.K., and as such, it would be possible for a U.K. resident to sign up elsewhere and use their card at home without meeting U.K. membership requirements.][
In Australia, membership is A$55.00 a year for a business membership, or A$60.00 a year for a Gold Star membership.
In Mexico, membership is MXN $450.00 a year for a Gold Star membership, or MXN $1000.00 a year for an Executive membership. Costco is only open to members for all services and purchases. Mexican locations only accept cash and Visa Electron debit cards; purchases with MasterCard or Visa credit cards have a surcharge of approximately 4%. Purchases with the Mexican Costco credit card keep cash prices.
Costco memberships can be refunded in full at any time before they expire. Costco guarantees almost all of their products with a full refund within a reasonable amount of time. Exceptions include televisions, projectors, computers, cameras, camcorders, digital audio players, and cellular phones; these may be returned within 90 days of purchase for any reason for a refund. After 90 days those returns must be done through the manufacturer according to the terms of the warranty. Also excepted are tires (which are covered by their manufacturer's separate defects and treadware warranties) and batteries (which are covered by a 36/100-month warranty, where they may be replaced for free in the first 36 months and are covered under a pro-rated warranty for months 37-100). Costco has negotiated with manufacturers to extend the manufacturers warranty to two years for new TVs and computers (five years on TVs sold by Costco in the UK). Costco also offers a free "concierge" service to members who purchase electronics, to help answer questions regarding setup and use and avoid potential returns due to not understanding how to use the products.
Until 2009, Costco did not accept food stamps. As of March 14, 2009, an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette quoted Jim Sinegal, co-founder and president of the company, as saying, "Generally we don't have customers who use food stamps."
In response to the poor economy, as well as competitor BJ's Wholesale Club's decision in April to accept electronic food-stamp benefits chainwide, Costco announced in May 2009 that it will accept food stamps on a trial basis in two New York City stores starting in June 2009 and depending on its success, might expand it to all New York City stores. The company subsequently announced plans to expand the program beyond New York City, targeting first the "hard-hit areas like Michigan, Indiana, and the central valley of California", expanding to "half its roughly 410 U.S. stores by Thanksgiving", and then going nationwide.
Costco Cash Cards can be purchased in the warehouse and members can load them with money to make non-cash purchases at all Costco warehouses in the United States and Australia. Because Costco gas stations take only Costco Cash, debit cards, American Express, and Costco credit cards, people who can only pay for gas by check or cash must purchase a Costco Cash Card inside the building before filling up. A Costco Membership is not required to make purchases with a Costco Cash Card. A non-member may not purchase or re-load a Costco Cash Card; however, they may spend more than the total value of their cash card in-store provided they pay in cash or approved debit cards for the remaining balance.
Over the years, Costco has gradually expanded its range of products and services. Initially it preferred to sell only boxed products that could be dispensed by simply tearing the stretch wrap off a pallet. It now][ sells many other products that are more difficult to handle, such as fresh produce, meat, dairy, seafood, fresh baked goods, flowers, clothing, books, computer software, vacuums, home appliances, home electronics, solar panels, jewelry, tires, art, fine wine, hot tubs, furniture and caskets. Many warehouses have tire garages, pharmacies, hearing aid centers, optometrists, photo processors, and gas stations. Optometrists working at Costco locations will see patients without Costco memberships.
Costco Optical ranks as the fourth-largest optical company in the US.][ A membership is required to fill a prescription at the optical department.
Some locations have liquor stores, often kept separate from the main warehouse in order to comply with liquor license restrictions. In some states (such as Texas), the liquor store must be owned and operated by a separate company with separate employees. In 2006, Costco lost a lawsuit against the state of Washington in which it was seeking to purchase wine directly from the producer, bypassing the state retail monopoly.][ In Australia, Costco has to comply with regulations set by each state they choose trade in; their first store in the state of Victoria benefits from some of the most liberal alcohol licensing laws in the country, with retailers permitted to sell alcohol on shelves within the store, in a manner similar to most European countries, yet they have chosen to have a separate checkout within the liquor section.][
Kirkland Signature is Costco's store brand, otherwise known in the retail industry as an "own-brand," "house brand" or "private label." It is found at Costco's website, Costco warehouses and on Amazon.com and is trademarked by the company. The name derives from the fact that Costco's corporate headquarters was located in the city of Kirkland, Washington between 1987 and 1996. Costco has a wide variety of changing inventory, known for carrying products for a time, then discontinuing them or using them as seasonal products.
Costco introduced Kirkland Signature as its house brand in 1995. The idea was to identify categories in which a private label product could provide brand name quality at discounted prices.
To counteract the consumer confidence problem common in store branding, Kirkland Signature sometimes relies on co-branding. According to Costco, while consumers may be wary of same-store-branding, they are less likely to be wary of brands that they are familiar with and trust.
Costco acts as an investment broker and travel agent. Costco has an agreement with Ameriprise for auto and home insurance. In 2004 Costco offered an original artwork by artist Pablo Picasso on their online store; more recently][ a highly regarded 1982 Mouton Rothschild wine was offered as well as other rare wines in rotation.][
Costco Photo Center is a multi-functional photography printing lab offering services at the warehouses as well as through their web site, costcophotocenter.com. The website provides free unlimited digital file storage with a current membership. Previous to May or June 2010, Costco had an agreement with Mypublisher.com for custom book and calendar publishing. Now,][ they print the photobooks and calendars themselves.
The domain costco.com attracted at least 58 million visitors in 2008 according to a Compete.com survey.
Costco Travel is a wholly owned subsidiary of Costco Wholesale, and offers leisure travel to Costco members of the United States. The program was established in 2000 as a service to Costco members. Costco Travel's offices are located in Issaquah, Washington, adjacent to Costco's corporate headquarters. Costco Travel employs 290 travel professionals, all of whom are Costco employees.
The program offers vacation packages to Hawaii, Mexico, the Caribbean, Europe, Orlando, the South Pacific, the Desert Southwest and Las Vegas.][ Other products include cruises, guided vacations, theme park packages, houseboat rentals, hotel-only lodging and luxury vacation rentals.][ Select products feature additional benefits for Costco Executive Members.][
The program is marketed directly to Costco members through various Costco avenues, including the Travel Guide to Savings (found in all U.S. Costco warehouses), online in the Travel section of Costco.com.][
The Costco Connection is a magazine sent free to members of the warehouse club Costco, but it can also be accessed online for free. The magazine includes articles which regularly tie into the corporation along with business, health and social articles.
Most Costco locations have a food court, offering a quarter-pound 100% beef hot dog or polish sausage and 20 oz drink (with refills) for $1.50, the same price since 1985. In Australia the hot dog is made of pork and is sold at A$2.49 with large soda. In Canada the price for a hot dog and 20 oz pop drink with refill is 1.50 CAD. In Mexico, the hot dog is made of pork, and includes a drink (with refills) for $25 MXN. In the UK, the hot dog is also made from beef and you also get a drink (with refills) for £1.50. Costco sold more than 82 million quarter-pound hot dogs in its food courts in 2008. Pizza is also available in most locations as cheese, pepperoni, veggie, or combo, and can be ordered to go at many locations. Frozen yogurt is also served in chocolate, vanilla, or swirled together. Also offered are berry smoothies, mocha freeze (with chocolate) or latte freeze (without chocolate), chicken bake, turkey provolone sandwiches, twisted churros, chicken Caesar salads, and in some locations, gelato. French fries are also offered in some locations. Due to slow sales, the pretzel was replaced by the churro. The nutrition data for the Costco Food Court items is posted online. In April 2010, certain Costco warehouses in the U.S. and Canada replaced their Coca-Cola drink fountain selections with Pepsi, accompanied with a change in labels on the disposable cups.][ Pepsi will replace all Coca-Cola fountain drinks at US food service locations starting in April 2013, the hot dog-soda combo will continue to cost $1.50.
In 2010, Mercy for Animals conducted an undercover investigation at Buckeye Veal Farm, a veal supplier to Costco. Immediately following the investigative release, Costco adopted a policy against purchasing veal from producers that use the crate-and-chain production method. The case prompted Ohio decision-makers to vote in favor of a veal crate phase-out in the state.
In 2012, Mercy for Animals conducted an undercover investigation at a pork supplier to Costco, Walmart, Safeway, Kroger, and Kmart. Before the public release of the investigation, Costco announced they would begin requiring their pork suppliers to phase out gestation crates.
While some former Price Club locations in California and the northeastern United States are staffed by Teamsters, the majority of Costco locations are not unionized although there seems to be a move in 2012 to unionize some locations in Canada. The non-union locations have revisions to their Costco Employee Agreement every three years concurrent with union contract ratifications in locations with collective bargaining agreements. Only remotely similar to a union contract, the Employee Agreement sets forth such things as benefits, compensations, wages, disciplinary procedures, paid holidays, bonuses, and seniority. The employee 'agreement' is subject to change by Costco at any time and offers no absolute protection to the workers. As of March 2011[update], non-supervisory hourly wages ranged from $11.00 to $21.00 in the United States, $11.00 to $22.15 in Canada, and £6.28 to £10.50 in the United Kingdom. In the US, eighty-five percent of Costco's workers have health insurance, compared with less than fifty percent at Walmart and Target.
Product-demonstration (e.g., food samples) employees work for an outside company. In the western U.S., the company is called Warehouse Demo Services, Kirkland, Washington. Costco also uses Club Demonstration Services, based in San Diego, California.][ In Canada, demonstrations are done exclusively by Professional Warehouse Demonstrations. Demonstration employees receive a pay and benefit package that is less than that of Costco employees.][
Warehouses outside the US are similar to those in the US. Layout, signage, and even parking lot markings are generally identical to warehouses in the US.][ Food court menus are tailored to international tastes, with poutine on offer in Canada, seafood-topped pizza available in Asian and Mexican locations, clam chowder in Japan, Taiwan & South Korea, jacket potatoes in the UK and meat pies in Australia. The merchandise mix available in warehouses is also tailored to local tastes, with a mix of both American and local products available.
As of April 18, 2013[update], Costco has 626 warehouses:
In 2005, the world's largest Costco was located in Hillsboro, Oregon, U.S. Costco announced it was opening 28 new locations in 2013, the most in one year since 2007.
Costco has experimented with other formats. As of February 2003, plans for Costco Fresh, a gourmet supermarket, did not get off the ground. The membership-based format was to include a pharmacy, bakery, olive bar, deli, cafe, garden center and photo and optical departments, with products packaged in smaller quantities.][
Costco Business Centers carry restaurant, hospitality, janitorial, convenience store, and professional office supplies; items are offered in bulk or in smaller quantities, and selection for a given category of product is much broader. Delivery is available. Unlike traditional Costcos, products such as clothing, sporting goods, jewelry, tires, hearing aids, and optical products are not available. A limited assortment of over-the-counter drugs and toiletries are sold, though there is no pharmacy. Some locations have a gas station and/or food court. All except San Diego have a Print & Copy Center.
As of October 2012, there are ten Costco Business Centers, located in California (Commerce, Hawthorne, Hayward, and San Diego), Washington (Lynnwood, Fife, Tukwila), Morrow, Georgia, Las Vegas, Nevada, and Phoenix, Arizona.
The first Costco Home warehouse debuted in 2002 in Kirkland, Washington. The warehouse's concept was to combine the value, setting and members-only elements of Costco's warehouse clubs with the product array one would find at an upscale home store, such as Fortunoff or Crate & Barrel. The Costco Home warehouses sold furniture, housewares, kitchen products and accessories from higher-end brands such as Lexington, Ralph Lauren and Waterford in a warehouse-club setting. Costco claimed that, similar to its main warehouses, it accepted lower margins in return for greater volume with minimal overhead.
Over time, the concept was adjusted to include home electronics, some major appliances, office furniture, and a large selection of outdoor furniture and window treatments. Costco also partners with Glentel subsidiary WIRELESS etc. to sell mobile phones and plans in Canada and Wireless Advocates in the US.
On April 2, 2009, the company announced that it would be abandoning its Costco Home concept, closing the two existing stores in Kirkland, Washington and Tempe, Arizona on July 3, 2009, and abandoning plans for a third store on the West Coast. The company cited cutbacks in consumer spending on home products and its interest in focusing on its core business as the main reasons.
A diploma (from Greek δίπλωµα. díplōma, meaning "folded paper") is a certificate or deed issued by an educational institution, such as a university, that testifies that the recipient has successfully completed a particular course of study or confers an academic degree. In countries such as the United Kingdom and Australia, the word diploma refers to a level of academic award. The words diplomat and diplomacy have the same origin, from the official "folded papers" of accreditation delivered by ambassadors or delegates.
In some countries, such as the UK and Australia, such a document can be called a testimonium or testamur, Latin for "we testify" or "certify" (testari), and so called from the word with which the certificate begins. In Ireland, it is generally called a parchment. The certificate that a Nobel laureate receives is also called a diploma.
The term diploma is also used in some historical contexts, to refer to documents signed by a King affirming a grant or tenure of specified land and its conditions (see Anglo-Saxon Charters and Diplomatics).
Originally, diplomas were made of thin Italian sheepskin, as paper wasn't economically viable to create because of the lack of skilled workers since the fall of Carthage (famous for its paper) to Rome, and also because it was extremely delicate at that time, with the exception of Carthaginian paper of course.][ The entire diploma was written by hand because of the lack of economically viable printing presses, as at the time templates would have been carved out of limestone tablets, and since the fall of the Egyptian empire there had been very few skilled workers in the carving of limestone. Soon, parchment entered use for the diploma in many places but most notably, first at Mexico City College in May, 1949] [, later the diploma became bound in leather.][
Diplomas used to be printed on large paper, but it has become common to print diplomas on standard letter or A4 size paper, except for most educational institutions in the north of France which issue diplomas on A3 size paper or larger.] [ The University of Malta also still issues diplomas and degrees on A3 size paper or larger.
High school diploma
The International Baccalaureate (IB), formerly the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO), is an international educational foundation headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland and founded in 1968. IB offers four educational programmes for children aged 3–19. The organization's name and logo were changed in 2007 to reflect a reorganization. Consequently, "IB" can refer to the organization itself, any of the four programmes, or the diploma or certificates awarded at the end of the diploma programme.
Marie-Thérèse Maurette created the framework for what would eventually become the IB Diploma Programme in 1948 when she wrote Is There a Way of Teaching for Peace?, a handbook for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). In the mid-1960s, a group of teachers from the International School of Geneva (Ecolint) created the International Schools Examinations Syndicate (ISES), which would later become the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO). The IB headquarters were officially established in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1968 for the development and maintenance of the diploma programme which would "provide an internationally acceptable university admissions qualification suitable for the growing mobile population of young people whose parents were part of the world of diplomacy, international and multi-national organizations" and offer internationally standardized courses and assessments for students ages 16 to 19. International Baccalaureate North America (IBNA) was established in 1975, by Peter Nehr, International Baccalaureate Africa, Europe and Middle-East (IBAEM) was established in 1986, and International Baccalaureate Asia Pacific (IBAP) established during the same period.
The IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) adheres to the study of eight subject areas and was developed and piloted in the mid-1990s. Within five years 51 countries had MYP schools. The IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) was piloted in 1996 in thirty primary schools on different continents, and the first PYP school was authorised in 1997, with as many as 87 authorised schools in 43 countries within five years.
Alec Peterson was IB's first director general (1968–1977), followed by Gérard Renaud (1977–83), Roger Peel (1983–98), Derek Blackman (1998–99), George Walker (1999–2005), and Jeffrey Beard (current director general).
The extended essay is an independent, self-directed piece of research, culminating in a 4,000-word paper. As a required component, it provides:
Emphasis is placed on the research process:
Participation in this process develops the capacity to analyse, synthesize and evaluate knowledge.
Students are supported throughout the process with advice and guidance from a supervisor (usually a teacher at the school).
Theory of knowledge (TOK) is a compulsory subject for all IB diploma students. It intends to give students a broader understanding of the interactions between their different school subjects as well as creating greater open-mindedness among students. It is based on a system of ways of knowing (WOK) and areas of knowledge (AOK), each of which is discussed in detail.][.
Ways of knowing:
Areas of knowledge:
Students are assessed through an oral presentation and a 1200-1600 word essay. The final score, together with the extended essay, influences the 3 additional points of the overall 45 possible total score.
Three fundamental concepts
Five areas of interaction
Culminating activity for schools offering a 4 - 5 year program
Six transdisciplinary themes
Six subject areas
Five essential elements
The curriculum is expressed in three ways
All four programmes (PYP, MYP, DP and IBCC) use the IB learner profile.
The IB is a not-for-profit educational foundation. The IB maintains its Foundation Office in Geneva, Switzerland. The Assessment Centre is located in Cardiff, Wales and the curriculum centre moved in 2011 to The Hague, Netherlands. Three Global Centres have been opened: Bethesda Maryland, United States, Singapore and The Hague, Netherlands.
The organization is divided into three regional centres: IB Africa, Europe and Middle East (IBAEM), administered from The Hague; IB Americas (IBA), administered from Bethesda and Buenos Aires, Argentina; and IB Asia-Pacific (IBAP), administered from Singapore.
Sub-regional associations "are groups formed by and for IB school practitioners to assist IB schools, teachers and students in their communities—from implementing IB programmes to providing a forum for dialogue."
In 2003, the IB established the IB Fund, incorporated in the United States, for the purpose of enhancing fundraising and keeping funds raised separate from operational funds. In 2004, the IB approved a strategic plan to "ensure that programmes and services are of the highest quality" and "to provide access to people who are socio-economically disadvantaged." In 2010 the strategic plan was updated after substantial consultation. The vision for the next 5 years was to more consciously establish the IB as a leader in international education and the Board outlined a vision and four strategic goals with key strategic objective.
Access remains fundamental to the mission of the IB and a variety of initiatives and projects are helping to take it forward in Ecuador, Poland, Romania, Czech republic, South Africa, Kazakhstan, Spain,Malaysia, Japan
The United States has the largest number of IB programmes (1,665 out of 4,502) offered in both private and public schools.
It has consultative status as a non-governmental organization (NGO) at United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and has collaborative relationships with the Council of Europe and the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF).
The IB governance is composed of an IB Board of Governors and six committees (access and advancement, audit, education, finance, human resources and governance). The Board of Governors appoints the Director general, sets the strategic direction of the organization, adopts a mission statement, makes policy, oversees the IB’s financial management, and ensures autonomy and integrity of the IB Diploma Programme examinations and other student assessment. The structure of its different committees are based on respect, representation and collaboration.
The Board of Governors can comprise between 15 and 25 members. Members are elected by the Board on the recommendation of the governance committee, and from nominations presented from the Heads Council, Regional Councils and the Board. To encourage diversity of gender, culture and geography, there are only three ex officio positions: Director general (non-voting), the chair of the Examining Board and the chair of the Heads Council.
The IB Diploma Programme was described as "a rigorous, off-the-shelf curriculum recognized by universities around the world” when it was featured in the December 18, 2006, edition of Time titled "How to bring our schools out of the 20th Century". The IBDP was also featured in the summer 2002 edition of American Educator, where Robert Rothman described it as "a good example of an effective, instructionally sound, exam-based system." In 2006, as part of the American Competitiveness Initiative (ACI), President George W. Bush and Education Secretary Margaret Spellings presented a plan for the expansion of Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate mathematics and science courses, with the goal of increasing the number of AP and IB teachers and the number of students taking AP and IB exams, as well as tripling the number of students passing those exams. Howard Gardner, a professor of educational psychology at Harvard University, said that the IBDP curriculum is "less parochial than most American efforts" and helps students "think critically, synthesize knowledge, reflect on their own thought processes and get their feet wet in interdisciplinary thinking."
In the United Kingdom in 2006, government ministers provided funding so that "every local authority in England could have at least one centre offering sixth-formers the chance to do the IB." In 2008, due to the devaluing of the A-Levels and an increase in the number of students taking the IB exams, then-Children's Secretary Ed Balls abandoned a "flagship Tony Blair pledge to allow children in all areas to study IB." Fears of a "two-tier" education system further dividing education between the rich and the poor emerged as the growth in IB is driven by private schools and sixth-form colleges.
The IBDP, in the United States, has been accused of being Marxist, foreign, globalist, and anti-American. These accusations resulted in an attempt to eliminate it from a public school in Pittsburgh. Some schools in the United States have eliminated the IBDP due to budgetary reasons and low student participation. In Utah, funding for the IBDP was reduced from $300,000 to $100,000 after State Senator Margaret Dayton objected to the program, stating, "I don't want to create 'world citizens' nearly as much as I want to help cultivate American citizens who function well in the world."
After Jeffrey Beard, the director-general of International Baccalaureate, gave a talk on "Education for a Better World" on August 5, 2010 at the Chautauqua Institution in New York State, the institution issued a statement the next day in which it expressed "genuine disappointment" with the talk, noting that it "drew heavily upon and quoted extensively from a speech given earlier in the year by Sir Ken Robinson", while adding that he "neglected to cite his source or reveal the quotations for what they were". Ken Robinson is a renowned British educationist who lives in the United States. Through an IB spokesperson, Beard admitted that "he could have been more explicit about the sources and authors that inspired him for the content of this speech". In a letter sent to heads of schools that offer the IB curricula, he described this as an "unfortunate incident" due to an "oversight".
In an apparently unrelated development, the Times Educational Supplement revealed on October 8, 2010, that significant portions of some of IB's marking guides for the IB Diploma Programme were lifted wholesale from unattributed websites, including Wikipedia. In a letter to schools, IB director-general Beard wrote: "We have and always will take immediate and appropriate action when we discover any violation of our policies or standards." The examiner responsible for the plagiarism resigned from the examination board five weeks after the issue came to light.
A high school diploma is a diploma awarded for the completion of high school. In the United States and Canada, it is considered the minimum education required for government jobs and higher education, such as beginning university. An equivalent is the GED.
Every place has different requirements for obtaining a high school diploma or its equivalent. For example, some schools require that all students study a foreign language, and other places do not. The number of years that students are required to attend school before earning a high school diploma, the difficulty level of the classes, and the types of classes vary significantly from place to place.
Diplomas were originally made of sheepskin, as paper was not very durable and was difficult to create. The sheepskin was made paper thin and information was handwritten. Soon, parchment was used for the diploma.
Diplomas used to be quite large, but it has become common to print diplomas on standard letter or A4 size paper. Another difference is the method with which diplomas are handed out. Older diplomas were often rolled and tied with ribbon, but diplomas may also be presented in leather binders or framed with wood and glass. In some cases, blank papers are handed out in graduation ceremonies, and the official diploma is delivered at a later date.
Most countries around the world award high school diplomas on the basis of completing appropriate coursework and passing one or more standardized tests. Every country has different requirements for receiving a diploma, and in some cases, individual schools set their own requirements. Requirements also change over time. There is no single, universal set of requirements for receiving a high school diploma. Every time and place has different requirements.
A person who qualifies for a diploma, but has not yet received it, is called a graduand; after receiving it, the person is called a graduate.
Education systems based on the British model have independently marked national examinations for each subject instead of a High School Diploma — General Certificate of Secondary Education in England and Wales, School Leaving Certificates in Ireland, Higher Grade Examination in Scotland, and IGCSE/AICE internationally. Caribbean Examination Council Certificates are also given to students in the Caribbean after completion of a five years of secondary education, and are accepted regionally and internationally.
European schools use the Baccalaureate system. The International Baccalaureate (IB) is becoming increasingly popular in the USA and worldwide.
In the United States, most states require students to take and pass a standardized test before graduation. The curriculum and implementation has varied depending upon the state. Florida uses the English, Welsh and Northern Irish A-level program (called Advanced International Certificate of Education) for advanced students while a number of schools in Virginia use the IGCSE. General education students who pass the twelfth grade in the US by completing enough classes, but do not meet all of the standard graduation requirements, will not receive a high school diploma, but will instead receive a certificate of attendance.
Australia has six state-based systems and two territory-based systems, which have different curricula, standards and pathways, but all of which (except for Queensland) produce a common Australian Tertiary Admission Rank which is recognised nationally. Several Australian private schools, and a number of public schools in the state of South Australia, offer the IB as an alternative.
The high school diploma is the symbol of having successfully completed the basic education required by law for youths. Because of this, the presentation of the high-school diploma has become an adulthood rite, that is steeped in ritual. The high-school diploma is given to students at a ceremony called high-school graduation. Students who have passed their courses will have their names called out, walk across a stage, and be handed their diplomas. Sometimes, students receive blank pieces of paper wrapped with a ribbon or empty leather binders during the graduation ceremony; when this occurs the actual diploma is received later.
Some types of high school diplomas include:
At most American schools, these are the same diplomas with different notations or endorsements. With the exception of those receiving a certificate of completion or a certificate of attendance, the recipients are all equally considered to be high school graduates with the same basic rights, such as the ability to attend any community college or university that chooses to accept them. However, in other countries, this is not the case. In some countries, high schools have specialized in certain areas and issue diplomas relevant to their specialty, and a particular type of diploma is normally required for certain purposes, such as attending university. For example, in Germany, three types of diplomas are common:
The names of diplomas vary by country and even from region to region within the same country.
Early College High School (Costa Mesa, California)
A diploma mill (also known as a degree mill) is an unaccredited higher education institution that offers bogus academic degrees and diplomas for a fee. These degrees may claim to give credit for relevant life experience, but should not be confused with legitimate prior learning assessment programs. Diploma mills are frequently supported by accreditation mills, set up for the purpose of providing an appearance of authenticity. An individual may or may not be aware that the degree they have obtained is not wholly legitimate. In either case, legal issues can arise if the qualification is used in resumés and the like.
The term "diploma mill" originally denotes an institution providing diplomas on an intensive and profit-making basis, like a factory. More broadly, it describes any institution that offers qualifications which are not accredited and/or are not based on proper academic assessment.
While the terms "degree mill" and "diploma mill" are commonly used interchangeably, within the academic community a distinction is sometimes drawn. A "degree mill" issues diplomas from unaccredited institutions which may be legal in some states but are generally illegitimate, while a "diploma mill" issues counterfeit diplomas bearing the names of real universities.
Academic diplomas may be legitimately awarded without any study as a recognition of authority or experience. When given extraordinarily, such degrees are called honorary degrees or honoris causa degrees. Also, in some universities, holders of a lower degree (Bachelor's degree) may be awarded honorary higher degrees (Master's) without study. For instance, in Finland between 1972 and 1994, the graduate degree in humanities was called "Bachelor of Humanities", and Master of Humanities could be awarded by application. In contrast, those actually studying would be awarded a Master of Philosophy.
The term "diploma mill" may also be used pejoratively to describe a legitimate institution with low academic admission standards and a low job placement rate.
Diploma mills share a number of features that differentiate them from respected institutions, although some legitimate institutions may exhibit some of the same characteristics.
The most notable feature of diploma mills is that they lack accreditation by a nationally recognized accrediting agency. (Note, however, that not all unaccredited institutions of higher learning are diploma mills). Diploma mills therefore employ various tactics in an attempt to appear more legitimate to potential students.
Some diploma mills claim accreditation by an accreditation mill while referring to themselves as being "fully accredited". Accreditation mills based in the United States may model their websites after real accrediting agencies overseen by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Another typical ploy is for mills to claim to be internationally recognized by organizations such as UNESCO. UNESCO has no authority to recognize or accredit higher education institutions or agencies, and has published warnings against education organizations that claim UNESCO recognition or affiliation.
As diploma mills are typically licensed to do business, it is common practice within the industry to misrepresent their business license as indicating government approval of the institution.][ Promotional materials may use words denoting a legal status such as "licensed", "state authorized", or "state-approved" to suggest an equivalence to accreditation.
Some advertise other indicators of authenticity that are not relevant to academic credentials. For example, the University of Northern Washington advertises that its degrees are "attested and sealed for authenticity by a government appointed notary". In reality notarization only certifies that the document was signed by the person named.
Diploma mills are frequently named to sound confusingly similar to those of prestigious accredited academic institutions. Despite the fact that trademark law is intended to prevent this situation, diploma mills continue to employ various methods to avoid legal recourse. Several diploma mills have adopted British-sounding names, similar but not identical to the names of legitimate universities, apparently to take advantage of the United Kingdom's reputation for educational quality in other parts of the world. Some examples of British-sounding names used by diploma mills are "Shaftesbury University", "University of Dunham", "Redding University", and "Suffield University".
The school’s website may well not have an .edu domain, or other country-specific equivalent, since registration of such names is typically restricted. However, enforcement has sometimes been lax, and an .edu domain cannot be taken as verification of school quality or reputation. Some diploma mills use an .ac top-level domain name, which resembles genuine second-level academic domain names like ac.uk but is in fact the ccTLD for Ascension Island. To prevent misuse of their names in this way, some legitimate academic institutions have registered .ac domains.][
Compared to legitimate institutions, diploma mills tend to have drastically lowered academic requirements, if any at all. Depending on the institution, students may be required to purchase textbooks, take tests, and submit homework, but degrees are commonly conferred after little or no study.
Instead of "hard sciences", where competence is easier to verify, the subjects offered by a diploma mill are often esoteric and may be based on a pseudoscience like astrology or natural healing. Such subjects are only vaguely defined, making external verification of educational standards difficult.
Degree mills typically offer little or no interaction with professors. Even if comments and corrections to coursework are given, they may have no bearing on the degree which is awarded. In other cases professors may serve only to write compliments to the student that can be given as references.
Since diploma mills provide little in the way of teaching, there is usually no need for teaching facilities. The school tends to have no library, personnel, publications or research. In short, very little that is tangible can be found about the institution. If teaching is offered, the professors may themselves hold advanced degrees from the diploma mill itself or from other unaccredited institutions. They may also sport legitimate qualifications that are unrelated to the subject they teach.
Doctoral theses and dissertations from the institution will not be available from University Microfilms International, a national repository, or even the institution's own library, if it has one. The address given by the bogus institution is often a postal box, mail forwarding service or suite number.
Buyers often use the diplomas to claim academic credentials for use in securing employment. For example a schoolteacher might buy a degree from a diploma mill in order to advance to superintendent. Degrees from a diploma mill can be obtained within a few days, weeks or months from the time of enrollment, and back-dating is possible. Academic credit may be offered for "life experience," a point often featured heavily in the selling points of the institution. This should not be confused with legitimate programs offering recognition of prior learning, which allow students to gain academic credit based on past training, experience or independent study.
Tuition and fees are charged on a per-degree basis rather than by term or by course. In most of the European Union, tertiary education is free of charge to students who pass highly competitive entrance examinations. In this environment, schools that have a tuition fee, lack entrance requirements, and are possibly based in another country, may be diploma mills, particularly when they match other criteria listed here. Diploma mills are often advertised using e-mail spam or other questionable methods. Prospective students are encouraged to "enroll now" before tuition or fees are increased. They may be told that they qualify for a fellowship, scholarship or grant, or offered deals to sign up for multiple degrees at the same time. Promotional literature might contain grammatical and spelling errors, words in Latin, extravagant or pretentious language, and sample diplomas. The school's website may look amateurish or unprofessionally made.
Degrees and diplomas issued by diploma mills have been used to obtain employment, raises, or clients. Even if issuing or receiving a diploma mill qualification is legal, passing it off as an accredited one for personal gain is a crime in many jurisdictions. In some cases the diploma mill may itself be guilty of an offense, if it knew or ought to have known that the qualifications it issues are used for fraudulent purposes. Diploma mills could also be guilty of fraud if they mislead customers into believing that the qualifications they issue are accredited or recognized, or make false claims that they will lead to career advancement, and accept money on the basis of these claims.
Similar to tax havens, diploma mills frequently employ jurisdiction shopping, operating in another country or legal jurisdiction where running diploma mills is legal, standards are lax or prosecution is unlikely. Splitting the business across jurisdictions can be a way to avoid authorities. A school might operate in one jurisdiction but use a mailing address in a different jurisdiction, for example. When situated in such a diploma mill-friendly country, the school very often has no students from that country, and is run entirely by non-native staff.
Some unaccredited institutions include disclaimers in respect of accreditation in the small print of their contracts.
Author John Bear, a distance learning and diploma mills expert, has written that fake degrees are risky for buyers and consumers:
In Australia, it is a criminal offense to call an institution a university, or issue university degrees, without authorization through an act of federal or state parliaments.
Under the Higher Education Support Act 2003, corporations wishing to use the term "university" require approval from the relevant government minister, the Minister for Education (as of May 2010).
The corporate regulator Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) places strict controls on corporations wishing to use the term "university" and if the applicant does not intend to provide education services the name must not imply a connection with an existing university.
The Corporations Regulations 2001 lists the 39 academic organisations permitted to use the title "university".
The use of higher education terms (such as "degree") is protected in state legislation, e.g. Higher Education (Qld) Act 2003.
According to the laws on higher education in Bosnia and Herzegovina the terms "university", "faculty", "academy" and "university of applied sciencies" can be used only by accredited educational institutions. Accreditation is independently assessed by the Agency for Development of Higher Education and Quality Assurance and formally conferred by the Ministry of Education and Science for each canton, entity or district. Only these institutions are allowed to award academic degrees and diplomas.
Illegal use of academic titles or academic degrees and "non-accredited diplomas" may lead to prosecution, conviction, fines or even imprisonment.
In Canada all universities and colleges are under the direct supervision of the provincial and territorial governments, and there are no accreditation authorities, so the problem of degree mills is relatively rare. For example, in Ontario the Post-secondary Education Choice and Excellence Act, 2000 regulates degree-granting authority. Any institution that wishes to offer a degree and/or use the term "university" must be authorized to do so under an Act of the Legislature or by the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities.
Most, but not all, universities and colleges in the People's Republic of China are public institutions. The Ministry of Education, which has legal authority to regulate college enrollment and degree awarding, publishes a yearly list of qualified higher-education institutions. Institutions not on the list cannot admit students or award degrees.
Also, no institution may call itself a "university" or "college" without approval by a provincial-level education department. Any institution, public or private, which wishes to name itself after a geographic region larger than a province (e.g. "South China ... University") must go through the Ministry of Education. A new regulation forbids any new university or college from being named "national", "of China" or similar names.
Most universities and colleges are public institutions; universities are self-governing, but financed by the state. However, some schools, like Tvind's teacher college, provide education which is only accredited outside Denmark.
All universities and colleges are public institutions; universities are state institutions, and vocational universities are municipal organs. There are no private higher educational institutions and no legal mechanism to found or accredit any. Universities are explicitly defined in the University Act. The only state universities that operate as foundations rather than civil service departments are Aalto University and Tampere University of Technology, since 2010, but both are still explicitly mentioned in the University Act.
Other than universities proper, vocational post-secondary schools (AMK, ammattikorkeakoulu), called "Universities of Applied Sciences" in English, can be established with permission from the cabinet. The degrees are protected by law. The list of AMKs can be viewed from the Ministry of Education website.
For purposes of professional qualification, the use of foreign degree qualifications is regulated: if the name of a degree can be confused with a Finnish degree that requires more academic credit, the officials in charge of professional qualification must require it to be formatted in a manner to eliminate the confusion. For example, if a degree is called "Doctor" but is in fact a lower degree (common in some cases), then this confusion has to be eliminated.
In Germany, it is a criminal offense to call an institution a Universität (university) or Fachhochschule, or to issue academic degrees, without authorization through an act of the respective state's Ministry of Education. It is also a criminal offense to falsely claim a degree in Germany if it is not accredited.
Some corporate training programs in Germany use the English term "corporate university". Such use of the term is tolerated since it is widely understood that such programs are not actual universities. Similarly, Fachhochschulen frequently use the English term "university of applied science". Neither are permitted to use the German word Universität.
It is illegal under Hong Kong laws chapter 320 Post Secondary Colleges Ordinance section 8 to call an organisation a "university" without approval from the Chief Executive in Council.
Under Hong Kong laws chapter 200 Crimes Ordinance section 73, anyone who knowingly uses false documents with the intention of inducing somebody to accept them as genuine is liable to 14 years' imprisonment. Section 76 assigns the same penalty for anyone who make or possesses machines that create such false documents.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) states, in section 22 of the University Grants Commission Act of 1956:
UGC has published a warning dated July 2012 against Indian Institute of Planning and Management (IIPM) about the unrecognized status of IIPM.
Legitimate higher education qualifications in Ireland are placed on, or formally aligned, with the National Framework of Qualifications. This framework was established by the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland in accordance with the Qualifications (Education and Training) Act (1999). It is illegal under the Universities Act (1997) for any body offering higher education services to use the term "university" without the permission of the Minister for Education and Science. It is likewise illegal under the Institutes of Technologies Acts (1992–2006) to use the term "institute of technology" or "regional technology college" without permission.
In Malaysia, the Education Act 1996 protects the status of the terms "university", "university college" and "branch campus". Only institutions with this status may award academic degrees.
The Private Higher Education Institutions act also places restrictions on the creation and operation of any private higher education institution that conducts any course of study or training programme for which a certificate, diploma or degree is awarded.
Furthermore, all legitimate higher education qualifications are placed on or formally affiliated with the Malaysian Qualifications Framework under the provisions of the Malaysian Qualifications Agency Act 2007. Limited exemptions are however granted to organizations and institutions "where the teaching is confined exclusively to the teaching of any religion" or "any place declared by the Minister by notification in the Gazette not to be an educational institution" under the Education Act 1996.
In July 2007, the Secretariat of Public Education (SEP) of Mexico issued an alert listing eleven institutions that were unaccredited in Mexico: Atlantic International University, Pacific Western University, Endicott College, Alliant International University, United States International University, Newport University, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, Westbridge University, West Coast University, Bircham International University, and Vision International University.
In the Netherlands it is illegal for non-accredited, non-recognized institutes to bestow any legally protected academic title. The NVAO is the only agency allowed to accredit courses. Since the implementation of the Bologna process, Dutch universities have started to bestow the English titles MSc and PhD instead of their Dutch equivalents. These English versions of the title are not protected under Dutch law. A diploma mill may thus bestow someone with a PhD title without violating Dutch law, but the recipient will not be allowed to use the protected titles "doctor" or "dr."
Partnerships with foreign educational institutions are possible. This is called the "U-bocht construction". In this case, the curricula are neither accredited by NVAO nor recognized by the Dutch Department of Education. Graduates receive a foreign diploma issued by the educational institution which has a partnership with a Dutch educational institution. The status of such a diploma depends upon the laws and accreditation system of the country where the diploma is granted.
The New Zealand Education Act prohibits use of the terms "degree" and "university" by institutions other than the country's eight accredited universities. In 2004 authorities announced their intention to take action against unaccredited schools using the words "degree" and "university," including the University of Newlands, an unaccredited distance-learning provider based in the Wellington suburb of Newlands. Other unaccredited New Zealand institutions reported to be using the word "university" included the New Zealand University of Golf in Auckland, the online Tawa-Linden and Tauranga Universities of the Third Age, and the Southern University of New Zealand. Newlands owner Rochelle M. Forrester said she would consider removing the word "university" from the name of her institution in order to comply with the law.
The National University Commission (NUC) was formed in 1999 to clamp down on diploma mill activity in the country. A concentrated effort by the NUC has resulted in a significant drop in diploma mill activity in Nigeria. An International Higher Education article states, "Attainment of the Nigerian vision of being one of the top 20 economies by 2020 will be compromised by the injection of such poor-quality graduates into the economy. Herein lies the distaste for and the raison d'être for the government's clampdown on degree mills."
In Nigeria, online degrees from unaccredited institutions are banned and should not be accepted by employers.
Accreditation of universities and other institutions of higher education ("Universitet", "Høyskole(Høgskole)"), is governed by the state institution NOKUT (http://www.nokut.no/en/), Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education. There have been cases where people submitting diplomas from a "Diploma Mill" to this agency for convalidation, have been prosecuted for fraud.
The government-established Higher Education Commission (HEC) is responsible for all matters related to the accreditation of universities in Pakistan. All recognized universities in Pakistan are listed on the HEC website.
Title IV (Crimes Against Public Interest), section V articles 174 and 175 of the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines criminalize the falsification of medical certificates, certificates of merit or service and the like. Article 174 imposes a penalty on anyone who produces such certificates and article 175 on anyone who knowingly procures and uses such a certificate. Despite this, news and magazine articles appear from time to time reporting businesses operating along Claro M. Recto Avenue in Manila which offer fake documents for sale.
A number of scandals and a decrease in the reputation of higher education institutions led to a state-run inspection of private higher education in 2007. In some fields, a number of private, and state-run polytechnic or university institutions, did not provide degree programs of academic integrity comparable to those provided at the most reputed departments of the major Portuguese state-run classic universities. In the late 2000s, there was a growing movement to define institutions awarding non-accredited degrees as diploma mills in order to raise awareness about the problem. In 1999 alone over 15,000 Portuguese students were enrolled in or recently graduated from unaccredited courses in the fields of engineering and architecture. At the same time, only one accredited engineering course was offered by a private university, and over 90% of accredited courses in the fields of engineering, architecture, and law were provided by state-run universities. Since 2007, the state plans to enforce more stringent rules for all public and private degree-conferring institutions.
The Romanian newspaper Gândul has reported that the Dimitrie Cantemir Christian University from Bucharest started 34 Master's degree curricula which have no legal ground. According to the rector of the University, Mrs. Corina Dumitrescu, the law has a loophole, since it uses a continuous present for institutional evaluation, which is uncharacteristic of the Romanian language. She says that in her opinion institutional evaluation (required by law) may also happen after the curricula have been taught. The actual wording in Romanian is "universitate acreditată supusă periodic evaluării instituţionale", and Dumitrescu argues that "care se supun" means that an accredited institution can be evaluated "today, tomorrow or the day after tomorrow" (and presumably, any time), not that it needs to have been evaluated in the past. For the study year 2010-2011, 16 Master's curricula from nine of its faculties are listed as accredited in Order no. 4630/2010 of the Department of Education.
The Spiru Haret University distance learning department has been considered in Romania a diploma mill. Although it received accreditation from Romania's National Council of Academic Evaluation in 2002, step by step its accreditations were cancelled for a large number of distance learning specializations. Also, there are some voices which dispute the level of the distance learning programs offered. The scandal peaked in the summer of 2009, when the Minister of Education suggested that the way license diplomas are obtained could become the object of an inquiry of the Romanian public prosecutors.
Petre Andrei University from Iaşi has been demanded to comply with the Law no. 408/2002, otherwise it will be liquidated. The same holds for Apolonia University from Iaşi (speaking of Law no. 481/2002 instead of Law no. 408/2002).
University Al. Ghica and University Europa Ecor, both from the town of Alexandria, Romania, made the object of an operation of the Romanian National Anti-corruption Prosecution Office, for selling 15,000 false diplomas in exchange for Euro 3,000 per diploma. Their profits have been estimated to about Euro 45 million per year.
The Minister Daniel Petru Funeriu has declared that the Spiru Haret University will become illegal. "The new law provides very clearly what happens in such situations: the institution of higher education which has unaccredited curricula automatically becomes illegal and enters into liquidation" said Funeriu for Bună Ziua Iași, showing that this is of application for any university with unaccredited curricula, not just for the Spiru Haret University. On February 10, 2011 have to have been stopped any specializations and curricula which are neither accredited nor temporarily authorized, according to Art. 361 paragraph 4 of the Law of National Education. The continuation of such curricula causes the liquidation of the university and the criminal responsibility for those guilty of breaking the law.
According to the newspaper Gândul, the situation of those who graduated unaccredited and unauthorized studies will be decided in September, following a project drawn up by ARACIS and consulting the National Rectors' Council. Funeriu recognized that it applies to several universities and that his department does not have the right to cancel diplomas.
It is illegal to falsely claim a degree in South Korea if it is not accredited. In March 2006 prosecutors in Seoul were reported to have broken up a crime ring selling bogus music diplomas from Russia, which helped many land university jobs and seats in orchestras. People who falsely used these degrees were criminally charged.
In early 2007, Shin Jeong-ah (신정아) was criminally charged for forging and misusing a degree from Yale University. The case had a far-reaching impact as she was a professor at Dongguk University and also held a position at an art gallery known to have ties with economical and political figures.
Until 1999 only state universities could grant degrees, but amendments to the Universities Act now allow private institutions to be granted degree-awarding status by the University Grants Commission. Universities can also be established by an act of parliament.
In June 2007, the Swedish Minister for Employment, Sven-Otto Littorin, was discovered to have an MBA degree from Fairfax University. Though aware that claiming an MBA from this diploma mill would be illegal in many states in the USA, Littorin tried to convince the Swedish media and people of the legitimacy of his qualification. He was eventually forced to remove the reference from his official CV, but he remained in office.
Qualifications, diplomas and titles earned from Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology (ETH Zurich, EPFL), from cantonal (state-run) universities, from private universities recognized by state authorities, and from Fachhochschule-institutions (Universities of Applied Sciences run or recognized by official authorities, federal and cantonal) are protected. Accreditation is conferred by the Conference of University Rectors of Switzerland (CRUS) and the Swiss Center of Accreditation and Quality Assurance in Higher Education (OAQ). Under Swiss law, it is a criminal offense, under unfair competition legislation, to profit by any unfounded academic or occupational qualifications. The private use of such a title, however, is legal. Thus, one can call oneself an LL.M., but one must not use the title when competing for clients.
In the UK, it is illegal to offer something that may be mistaken for a UK degree unless the awarding body is on a list maintained by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Degrees must be awarded by "recognised bodies", which include universities and other higher education institutions with "degree awarding powers". However degree programmes may be advertised and run by a much wider range of "listed bodies" whose academic standards and quality are assured by a "recognised body" which formally awards the degree.
UK Trading Standards officers have had notable success in countering a large diploma mill group based abroad that was using British place-names for its "universities".
Medical diploma mills have operated, and have been blacklisted, in the United States for over 120 years. The country does not have a federal law that would unambiguously prohibit diploma mills, and the term "university" is not legally protected on a national level. The United States Department of Education lacks direct plenary authority to regulate schools and, consequently, the quality of an institution's degree. However, the Federal Trade Commission works to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices including those in the field of education and alerts United States' consumers about diploma mills by delineating some tell-tale signs in its official web page. Under the terms of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, the U.S. Secretary of Education is required by law to publish a list of nationally recognized accrediting agencies that the Secretary determines to be reliable authorities on the quality of education or training provided by the institutions of higher education that they accredit. Some degree mills have taken advantage of the Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment by representing themselves as seminaries, since in many jurisdictions religious institutions can legally offer degrees in religious subjects without government regulation. However as a result of the loophole religious groups like the Roman Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention began creating their own accrediting bodies.
Although the DipScam operation in the 1980s led to a decline in diploma mill activity across the United States, the lack of further action by law enforcement, uneven state laws, and the rise of the Internet have combined to reverse many of the gains made in previous years. In 2005, the US Department of Education launched its Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs website to combat the spread of fraudulent degrees. A number of states have passed bills restricting the ability of organizations to award degrees without accreditation. Jurisdictions that have restricted or made illegal the use of credentials from unaccredited schools include Oregon, Michigan, Maine, North Dakota, New Jersey, Washington, Nevada, Illinois, Indiana, and Texas. Many other states are also considering restrictions on the use of degrees from unaccredited institutions.
Early College High Schools compress the time it takes to complete a high school diploma and the first two years of college. They are small schools from which students graduate with not only a high school diploma but also an associate’s degree or up to two years of college credit toward a bachelor’s degree.
By changing the structure of the high school years and compressing the number of years to achieve a college degree, Early College High Schools attempt to improve graduation rates and better prepare students for entry into high-skill careers.
Early College High School, otherwise known as "ECHS", is a collaborative effort between the Newport-Mesa Unified School District and Coastline Community College. It is a public high school for grades 9 through 12 located at 2990 Mesa Verde Drive East in the Mesa Verde neighborhood of Costa Mesa, California, on the former site of Mesa Verde Elementary School. Previously ECHS was on the Backbay / Monte Vista High School Campus.
Newport-Mesa Unified School District and Coastline Community College opened Early College High School in August 2006. ECHS is an academic program intended to enable students to pursue post-secondary education at a community college, four-year college or university.
Students are offered not only the opportunity to earn a high school diploma and meet university entrance requirements, but they also take college courses for which they receive college units through concurrent enrollment.
ECHS has a maximum population of one hundred students per grade level, allowing for smaller class sizes, frequent opportunities for individual participation, and personalized attention from faculty and staff.
Economy of the United States
Costco Wholesale Corporation is a membership-only warehouse club that provides a wide selection of merchandise. As of July 2012[update], it is the second largest retailer in the United States, the seventh largest retailer in the world and the largest membership warehouse club chain in the United States.
farming, forestry, and fishing: 0.7% manufacturing, extraction, transportation, and crafts: 20% managerial, professional, and technical]disambiguation needed[: 37% sales and office: 24% other services: 18% (2009)
Main data source: CIA World Fact Book