A so-called university, The American University of London (AUOL), sold an MBA degree £4,500 to a fictitious person with no academic work required, a BBC Newsnight investigation has revealed. AUOL has insisted it is “not a bogus university” and defended the robustness of the qualifications it offers. AUOL styles itself as a pioneer of distance learning, offering degrees and post-graduate qualifications in business, IT, law, education and liberal arts, humanities, and English to more than 100,000 students worldwide. While seemingly based in London, AUOL is actually incorporated in the Caribbean. Newsnight found hundreds of senior executives listing AUOL qualifications. When the programme contacted some of them, they all insisted that they had to study for their degrees. On its website, AUOL boasts some well qualified supervisors and says that “the university’s academic staff are highly qualified and experienced”. But when five Western academics on its list were contacted, all said they had never worked there and never agreed for their name to be used. “They are not degrees,” said George Gollin, an American academic with expertise in unaccredited education. “They are pieces of paper and I’m guessing they are not able to sell very many degrees into countries where English is the first language.” The university has been listed as “bogus” by the agency that values degrees for the Italian government and it has been blacklisted in five U.S. states.