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New Jersey Statutes & Regulations
Regarding Academic Degrees


N.J.S.A. 18A:3-15.1. Deceptive diploma practices
A person shall not with the intent to deceive buy, sell, make or alter, give, issue, obtain or attempt to obtain any diploma or other document purporting to confer any academic degree, or which certifies the completion in whole or in part of any course of study in any institution of higher education.

L. 1986, c. 87, s. 1, eff. Aug. 14, 1986.

NJ.S.A. 18A:3-15.2. Use of fraudulent degree
A person or other legal entity shall not use, or attempt to use, in connection with any business, trade, profession or occupation any academic degree or certification of degree or degree credit, including but not limited to a transcript of course work, which has been fraudulently issued, obtained, forged or altered. A person shall not, with intent to deceive, falsely represent himself as having received any such degree or credential.

L. 1986, c. 87, s. 2, eff. Aug. 14, 1986.


N.J.S.A. 18A:3-15.3. Letter designation restricted
A person shall not append to his name any letters in the same form designated by the Commission on Higher Education as entitled to the protection accorded to an academic degree unless the person has received from a duly authorized institution of higher education the degree or certificate for which the letters are registered. For the purposes of this section, a duly authorized institution of higher education means an in-State institution licensed by the Commission on Higher Education or an out-of-State institution licensed by the appropriate state agency and regionally accredited or seeking accreditation by the appropriate accrediting body recognized by the Council on Postsecondary Education* or the United States Department of Education.

L.1986,c.87,s.3; amended 1994,c.48,s.36.

*- The Council for Higher Education Accreditation is the successor entity to the Council on Postsecondary Education referred to above.  For a list of recognized regional accrediting bodies, please scroll to the bottom of this page or click here.

N.J.S.A. 18A:3-15.5. Civil penalty
Any person who violates any provision of this act is liable to a civil penalty of $1,000.00 for each offense, which shall be collected pursuant to the provisions of "the penalty enforcement law," N.J.S. 2A:58-1 et seq.
L. 1986, c. 87, s. 5, eff. Aug. 14, 1986.

P.L. 2010, Chapter 13, enacted May 6, 2010
1. In order for a board of education to provide to an employee tuition assistance for coursework taken at an institution of higher education or additional  compensation upon the acquisition of additional academic credits or completion of a degree program at an institution of higher education:

a. The institution shall be a duly authorized institution of higher education as defined in section 3 of P.L.1986, c.87 (C.18A:3-15.3);

b. The employee shall obtain approval from the superintendent of schools prior to enrollment in any course for which tuition assistance is sought. In the event that the superintendent denies the approval, the employee may appeal the denial to the board of education. In the case of a superintendent, the approval shall be obtained from the board of education; and

c. The tuition assistance or additional compensation shall be provided only for a course or degree related to the employee’s current or future job responsibilities.

2. Nothing in this act shall be construed to limit the authority of a board of education to establish more stringent requirements for the provision of tuition assistance or additional compensation than the requirements set forth in section 1 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

3. This act shall take effect on July 1 of the school year next following the date of enactment, except that this act shall not be deemed to impair an obligation set forth in a collective negotiations agreement or an individual contract of employment in effect on the effective date.


Licensure Rules - Subchapter 8
Fraudulent Academic Degrees

9A:1-8.1 Protected degree designations for earned degrees

(a) No person shall use or append to his or her name any academic degree
designation, letters, derivatives thereof, or other designations as evidence of having earned an academic degree unless a duly authorized institution of higher education as defined in Section 3 of P.L.1986, c.87 (N.J.S.A. 18A:3-15.3) conferred the degree.

1. In states without a licensing requirement for institutions of higher education, a duly authorized institution of higher education is one that is regionally accredited or accredited by the appropriate accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education or one that is seeking such accreditation.


2. Regarding institutions located outside of the U.S. or its possessions, a duly authorized institution of higher education is one that is recognized by the appropriate body in the particular country provided that the institution’s requirements for awarding degrees are generally equivalent to those accepted in the U.S. by an accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education.

9A:1-8.2 Honorary degrees

Any person who has received an honorary degree shall follow the academic degree or the letters used to abbreviate such a degree with the word “Honorary” or “Hon.” in parenthesis when representing himself or herself as having received such a degree or credential.


NJ Department of Education Rules
For teacher certification, the regulations of the New Jersey Department of Education generally require a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher education.  Visit the NJ Department of Education Licensure and Credentials web page on this topic.
SEARCH the U.S. Dept. of Education Listing of Postsecondary Educational Institutions and Programs Accredited by Accrediting Agencies and State Approval Agencies Recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education.

SEARCH The Council for Higher Education Accreditation Database of Institutions Accredited By Recognized United States Accrediting Organizations.


U.S. REGIONAL ACCREDITING BODIES*

* Please note that institutions without recognized accreditation may claim accreditation from a body with a name similar to a legitimate one. 

Accreditation & "Diploma Mill" Resources


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Last updated: November 2, 2011