Triggered by my research into Life Christian University, I have discovered that some states make it illegal to use degrees from unaccredited schools or degrees which are not based on actual academic work. This post provides a look at Nevada’s law which requires evidence that work was done to get a degree. I start with this one because it addresses degrees which are awarded based on life experience. Here is the law:
NRS 394.700 Prohibition; penalty.
1. It is unlawful for a person knowingly to use or attempt to use:
(a) A false or misleading degree or honorary degree conferred by a private entity, regardless of whether that entity is located in this State and regardless of whether that entity is authorized to operate in this State; or
(b) A degree or honorary degree conferred by a private entity in a false or misleading manner, regardless of whether that entity is located in this State and regardless of whether that entity is authorized to operate in this State,
in connection with admission to any institution of higher education or in connection with any business, employment, occupation, profession, trade or public office.
2. Unless a greater penalty is provided by specific statute, a person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine of not more than $5,000 or by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than 6 months, or by both fine and imprisonment.
3. In addition to any criminal penalty imposed pursuant to subsection 2, a person who violates the provisions of this section is subject to a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed $5,000 for each violation. The Attorney General or any district attorney of this State may recover the penalty in a civil action brought in the name of the State of Nevada in any court of competent jurisdiction.
4. For the purposes of this section, a degree or honorary degree is false or misleading or is used in a false or misleading manner if it:
(a) States or suggests that the person named in the degree or honorary degree has completed the requirements of an academic or professional program of study in a particular field of endeavor beyond the secondary school level and the person has not, in fact, completed the requirements of the program of study;
(b) Is offered as his or her own by a person other than the person who completed the requirements of the program of study; or
(c) Is awarded, bestowed, conferred, given, granted, conveyed or sold:
(1) Based upon more than 10 percent of the recipient’s documented life experience and not based upon actual completion of academic work;
(2) By a person or entity located in this State in violation of this chapter, as determined by the Commission; or
(3) By a person or entity located outside this State which would be a violation of this chapter if the person or entity were located in this State, as determined by the Commission. (emphasis added)
5. As used in this section:
(a) “Degree” has the meaning ascribed to it in NRS 394.620.
(b) “Honorary degree” has the meaning ascribed to it in NRS 394.620.
Joyce Meyer, David Barton and the other Life Christian University “distinguished degree holders” should be careful when in Nevada. According to Douglas Wingate, the PhDs given to “distinguished degree holders” are given solely in consideration of their life and ministry experience. Nevada forbids that kind of degree to be used in the state. If more than 10% of the work for a degree is based on life experience, it is considered “false or misleading.” Even honorary degrees cannot be portrayed as having been earned. Clearly, the definition of “earned degree” as used by LCU would be considered false and misleading in Nevada.
I am compiling a list of states which penalize the improper use of degrees and applying those findings to some of “distinguished degree holders.” Stay tuned.