Alabama education officials are cracking down on the exploding market for shady internet courses and degrees and have taken action against four unaccredited Birmingham-based online colleges, the Birmingham News reports. "These are not real schools and are operating in ways that are not in the best interest of their students," said Lynn Thrower, the associate general counsel assigned to ramp up enforcement. Last week, Chadwick University was notified its license to offer degrees had been revoked. The state Department of Postsecondary Education also denied applications to operate online schools from Southern State University and Paramount University of Technology, which listed their headquarters in Birmingham but were found to have nothing but mailboxes in the city. Alabama had become a haven for questionable online operations, which have exploded in recent years thanks to the ease of creating virtual schools on the web, department officials said. The online for-profit businesses offer a vast array of degrees, from hypnotherapy to doctorates in economics…

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