How to Verify College Degrees

Written by yvonne van damme
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Due to the advances in technology, resume fraud has become increasingly common. There are many "diploma mills" in business. They are in business solely to produce and sell fake degrees and certificates. This presents unique problems for hiring managers and people that work in human resources. According to officials at the Federal Trade Commission, hiring someone with a fake college degree can place a company at risk for future litigation. Thus, it's integral that companies have a system in place to verify college degrees.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Official transcript
  • Computer
  • Internet access
  • Credit card (optional)

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  1. 1

    Ask the candidate to request a copy of an official transcript. Do not accept an unofficial transcript. Advise the candidate to order the transcript and have the university send it directly to your office. It will be sealed in an envelope. If the envelope has been tampered with in any way, it is no longer considered official.

  2. 2

    Verify the degree on the college web site. This is not available on all college websites. Some of them have a section that is just for verification. You will likely have to enter the student's name and birth date.

  3. 3

    Call the college or university. Ask to speak to someone that can verify a college degree. You will likely have to provide a name as well as a birth date and maybe the year of graduation. This is often handled by the registrar's office.

  4. 4

    Search for the college information on the Internet. It's not uncommon for the "diploma mills" to provide accreditation for colleges that do not actually exist. Search for the name of the college and if found, verify that the degree program that you are trying to verify actually exists at the college.

  5. 5

    Verify the college degree using a company that specialises in doing so. National Student Clearinghouse is a company used by many universities that offers a web site for you to verify college degrees. However, this is not a free web site. You will need a credit card to access the information.

  6. 6

    If the student graduated from a foreign college, locate the web site and phone number by conducting an Internet search. If there is no information that is in English, find someone that speaks the language or hire an interpreter. You also may be able to e-mail the college to locate the necessary information. Keep in mind the time difference.

Tips and warnings

  • Before you begin the verification process, be certain that you have the candidate's full legal name.
  • Be cautious when using your credit card online.

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