Broward College Bans Diploma Mill Grads After New Times Investigation, but Miami Dade Still Wants 'Em

After a New Times story exposed a local diploma mill that was peddling high school degrees for $399, Broward College has banned "graduates" from InterAmerican Christian Academy.

But Miami Dade College, the most prominent public academy in the state, won't do the same.

Last month, I "enrolled" at InterAmerican and received my diploma within a week. The entire curriculum of the school, which is really just two office suites in Kendall and Doral, consisted of five extremely basic take-home tests. I gave the tests to children ages 8 through 13 and copied their answers. I passed with no trouble.

In other words, InterAmerican is selling diplomas for $399. But Miami Dade College has accepted 88 purported graduates of the high school.

Broward College has accepted only three. But spokesperson Rivka Spiro explains that after New Times first notified them of InterAmerican's unique -- or maybe not -- educational model, they "subsequently validated that it was in fact suspicious." Broward College removed InterAmerican from its list of acceptable high schools "within 24 to 48 hours" of that finding, Spiro says.

InterAmerican grads already enrolled in the college will be grandfathered in. Adds Spiro: "At Broward College, we have a vested interest in having the most prepared students possible."

But Miami Dade College steadfastly follows a list of schools published by the Florida Department of Education, which doesn't regulate education and is helpless to do anything even when it finds out a school is selling diplomas. "We cannot unilaterally exclude any of those," spokesperson Juan Mendieta insisted via email yesterday afternoon.

We asked him how, then, Broward College -- which is taxpayer funded just like Miami Dade -- was able to pull it off. He has yet to reply.

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