Though it is not illegal to purchase a college degree, it is highly unlikely that a purchased degree without doing any work is from a legitimate accredited institution, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Using an unearned degree to prove competency for employment or further education can lead to prosecution.
Degree programs offered on a pay-only basis and that do not test basic knowledge or require class attendance are referred to by the Federal Trade Commission as "diploma mills." An accredited institution of higher learning may infrequently offer credits toward a diploma for life or work experience in a major field of study. As of 2015, there are no legitimate degrees offered solely on the basis of life experience or monies paid, states the FTC. Any degrees gained by purchase are fraudulent, and attempting to pass off a fraudulent degree can ruin chances for future employment as well as result in legal charges.