CHARLOTTE, N.C. — King's College closed its doors for good in Charlotte more than four years ago, but that hasn't stopped someone from creating a copycat website that's encouraging potential "students" to apply, pay a fee and hand over their personal information.
The college, which dissolved in 2018 due to low enrollment, remained a fixture on Lamar Avenue for decades.
"King's College worked very hard for almost 100 years to build a great reputation in the Charlotte community and we're very saddened to think that somebody might try to trade on that reputation that we built for purposes that could just hurt people," Bradford Schools President Marty Calihan told WCNC Charlotte.
Calihan said he's spent the better part of the year trying to get the unaffiliated website removed, unsuccessfully thus far. A review of the domain name shows its registration is private.
"It really shocked us earlier this year when we found out about this site," Calihan said. "This 'institution' is not an institution in any way, shape or form. As far as I can tell it's just a website and its only purpose, it seems to me, is to hurt people."
While the website shocked Calihan, it horrified Darby Huss. The 2014 King's College graduate learned from WCNC Charlotte that she is featured as a "Success Story" on the copycat website.
"Literally, the first thing that came up was my picture," she said in disbelief. "It even asks you for your Passport ID number, your driver's license number and for you to pay the $75 fee to apply. The whole situation blows my mind."
A search of the Wayback Machine Internet Archive shows the school's retired website, kingscollegecharlotte.edu, once featured Huss as a "Success Story."
Calihan said there's only one "legitimate" King's College website that still exists today, kingscollegecharlotte.com, which is strictly for alumni transcripts.
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The North Carolina Attorney General's Office confirmed an investigation.
"Our office is aware of reports that 'King's College,' an unlicensed institution, is trying to get students to pay an application fee," Press Secretary Nazneen Ahmed said. "Our office is actively investigating this website. We want students to know that if they're working toward an online degree, they should make sure the institution is properly licensed."
The federal government has a searchable database of accredited schools. The database shows King's College is no longer accredited and hasn't been since 2018.
Potential students can also review the University of North Carolina's licensed institutions list.
"Students should always look for school licensure information on the school's website and confirm licensure with the relevant licensing board," Ahmed added. "Students can also call our office or the Secretary of State's office."
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