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TL;DR: How does one verify the academic credentials (degree earned, date of graduation) of an individual without their permission or knowledge.


I'm trying to verify the academic history and degree of an individual. I'm new to verifying academic histories and achievements, so understanding the process and responses below would be very helpful to me (and likely others in the same situation).

The individual states he attended University Maryland University College (UMUC) form 1992 to 1995, and earned a MBA degree. Its public information and published in his Linkedin profile.

I attempted to verify though UMUC's alumni services. The alumni service did not respond to my emails or calls. Next, I called the registrar at the University and they instructed me to go to degreeverify.org. degreeverify.org directed me to the National Student Clearinghouse.

I placed an order for the verification with the National Student Clearinghouse. It cost me 10 or 20 dollars. I received a "Thank you" email from them and an email address to use in the future (degreeverify@studentclearinghouse.org).

I believe I am getting a run-around from National Student Clearinghouse. After a few days, I sent an email to degreeverify@studentclearinghouse.org requesting the results. National Student Clearinghouse responded back "The verification results you received came directly from the school and they based their research on the information you provided in your initial request":

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I have not received results or an answer from UMUC or National Student Clearinghouse. Additionally, the National Student Clearinghouse stated I should "fax or email a copy of the students transcripts or diploma for verification [sic]". That's what I paid National Student Clearinghouse to do!

I used National Student Clearinghouse's website "Contact Us" page to request their phone number so I could speak with someone. In addition, I made the same request via email. I have not received a reply to the request for their telephone number!

I'm new to verifying academic histories and achievements, and I surely don't understand the run-around I am getting from UMUC and National Student Clearinghouse. My questions are:

  • Why won't UMUC provide me with a Yes/No answer to the Verify operation?
  • Why won't National Student Clearinghouse provide me with a Yes/No answer to the Verify operation?
  • Why won't National Student Clearinghouse provide me with a telephone number to speak with them?
  • Is this run-around typical for folks who verify academic history and degree?
  • Do I have any additional options to to verify the academic history and degree?

I'm beginning to wonder if National Student Clearinghouse is a legitimate service. I know National Student Clearinghouse is not BBB accredited. I discovered that after the run-around began.

Thanks in advance.

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    Is it safe to assume that you are snooping into the UMUC graduate's education history behind their back? – Mad Jack Jul 10 '14 at 0:34
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    @Mad Jack - unfortunately, I can't ask this fellow. I'm doing research for a lawsuit. He and his company owes me $56,000 in unpaid wages over a 3 1/2 month period. Once the lawsuit is filed, I will have the power of subpeona and will be able to acquire it without him. – user18370 Jul 10 '14 at 0:53
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    I added a tl;dr that makes it clear that the distilled version of this question does ask questions involving generalizable knowledge concerning academia. – RoboKaren Jul 10 '14 at 1:05
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    Did you try UMUC alumni services? They have their directory online at alumni.umd.edu and also umucconnect.org/s/710/index.aspx . But otherwise I'd suggest hiring a private investigator or lawyer. This is pretty standard ops for them and it helps keep you at arms length. – RoboKaren Jul 10 '14 at 1:53
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    @robertbristow-johnson: Employers normally insist that applicants submit official transcripts, sent directly from their universities, making it rather easy to verify their degrees. I don't think it's likely that many professors have managed to fake their way through this. The OP's situation is very different as he/she does not have the subject's consent. – Nate Eldredge Jul 10 '14 at 4:07
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What you are trying to do is rather unusual. In most cases where a degree needs to be verified (admissions, jobs, etc), the person doing the checking has the subject's consent, and normally the subject would just have the university send an official transcript. In that case the university's "customer" is their own alumnus and they have some interest in being responsive. In contrast, they have no particular incentive to be responsive to you, and so I'm not too surprised that the process they have is not particularly convenient.

That said, I don't see what you can do except to keep following up with NSC and using their support system. Or, you could get your lawyer involved, and see if a letter from her can speed things along.

I would note that, while federal privacy laws allow universities to release "directory information" including dates of attendance and degrees, as far as I know, nothing actually requires them to do so.

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