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Q: Public Information on Degrees and Certifications ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: Public Information on Degrees and Certifications
Category: Business and Money > Employment
Asked by: elsal1225-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 05 Jan 2003 12:31 PST
Expires: 04 Feb 2003 12:31 PST
Question ID: 137913
What public information is there about one's degrees/certifications
from universities or other institutions?
For example, say I was an employer wanting to find out whether someone
claiming to be a graduate of Rice University, holding what appears to
be a framed diploma, with an MSCE certification (also present) was
being truthful or not.  Or I wanted to know whether someone truly had
an MBA from Harvard (again, framed), a series 7 license, and a CPA
certification.  How would I go about this process?  Is there a public
location that I can search, or do I just have to contact Rice and
Microsoft directly?
Also, is there any way that they could have added themselves to this
public database, if it exists?  And are there any legal penalties for
forging the documents?  And if I do hire them, they work for me for a
year, then I find out that they had lied in the beginning, are they
held liable in any way, or is it my own fault for being too trusting?

Much Thanks,
Subject: Re: Public Information on Degrees and Certifications
Answered By: ragingacademic-ga on 05 Jan 2003 13:46 PST
Dear elsal1225,

Thanks for your question.  First, let me request that if any of the
following is unclear or if you require any further research – please
don’t hesitate to ask me for a clarification.

You requested information on degree verification.  As of yet, there is
no such public source for information – in order to create such a data
repository, the accredited academic institutions of the world will
have to collaborate quite closely; while this is definitely possible,
it is not imminent.

The universities themselves, when considering students for graduate
admissions, do not rely on individuals’ resumes – they request that
the individual arrange for the prior academic institutions at which
they had studied to send them an official transcript (and not even for
the candidate in question to forward a transcript, which of course
could be forged).

This is the most reliable way of verifying a degree.  If you are not
handling a very large pool of potential employees, it is also the most
cost effective.  Simply click over to any university’s Web site and
search for “transcript” in order to locate the relevant contact
information; however, note that either the individual will have to
contact the university himself, or else he will have to provide you
with his social security number and/or student ID; you should also
secure written permission from him (or her) for this purpose to avoid
any future legal complications.

Alternatively, there are a number of services that will do the dirty
work for you.

Credentials, Inc.

(this service is in use by many Universities – see for example:,3858,4375036,00.html )


Similar to Credentials, Inc.

Foreign Credential Verification

World Education Services

Another source to help verify foreign credentials –

I have not been able to locate a service that verifies technical
certifications such as MCSE.  You’ll have to contact the individual
companies, such as Microsoft, Cisco etc.

For example, Microsoft’s MCSE homepage is at –

And Cisco’s is at –

You asked several additional questions, let me address them here one
by one -

Q: Is there any way that they could have added themselves to this 
public database, if it exists?

A: Since there is not public database, there isn’t – but don’t ever
underestimate the potential of a serious hacker to add him or herself
to Harvard or the University of Wisconsin’s database… (or any other
University, of course) – it sounds like that’s virtually impossible,
but all a transcript verification does is access data in a database;
if an individual can break into the database and determine its
structure, he can add himself to it.  So in some sense you’re never
100% sure – but I would not spend time worrying about such rare

Q: And are there any legal penalties for forging the documents?

A: Of course, and you could sue the bastards, as could the academic
institution whose documents were forged.  But this will incur serious
expenses in terms of both time and financial resources and will likely
not achieve much.

Q: And if I do hire them, they work for me for a year, then I find out
that they had lied in the beginning, are they
held liable in any way, or is it my own fault for being too trusting?

A: As above, yes, they can be held liable but you’ll have to take them
to court.

If you are as concerned as you seem to be, take the safe path and make
sure to verify potential employees’ credentials.  I would not go about
doing this, however, until you are ready to make an offer – let it be
the last thing you worry about, so that you don’t end up spending too
much time on this.

I hope this response adequately addresses your request.  Please let me
know if you are in need of additional information concerning this


Search Strategy:

"verifying academic credentials"
cisco certification
"verify technical certification"

Request for Answer Clarification by elsal1225-ga on 05 Jan 2003 21:38 PST
Excellent work on the quick and thorough answer!  However, there is
some more information relating to this that I would like to know:

EDVerify claims to have 100% of all US schools and universities under
its thumb.  It claims that for a flat fee of $5, plus up to an
additional $10, it will tell you very quickly about any school
existing within the United States.  If there is no collaboration
between all US schools and universities, how is this possible?  I
sincerely doubt that, at $5 a pop, EDVerify has the time or the
resources to woo every school without exception.

Also, I didn't see anything in either the Microsoft or Cisco websites
directly linking to an area where one can find information on who has
previously completed their certification program.  Is there a place
online to find that information, on their website, or would one have
to call their "customer service" and wade through the various levels
to find out the info?

Thanks again for spending time on my question.  I appreciate the quick
response, and you can be on the lookout for future questions directed
towards you.

Clarification of Answer by ragingacademic-ga on 07 Jan 2003 07:56 PST
elsal1225 -

Thanks for your clarification request and your kind words.

The answer to your first question is quite simple - Edverify doesn't
need to establish apriori relationships with the schools - all they
need is a directory like Peterson's, a Web connection and a phone... 
The extra charge accounts for the actual charge the University levies,
which ranges from $0 to $10 (I happen to know from personal experience
that Stanford charges nothing, while Wash U, for example, charges $5).
 Since there is no automated system, Edverify likely employs lower
wage individuals who contact the schools on your behalf, allowing them
to do this at $5 per transaction (if they're paying $6-$8 an hour and
a single representative can handle anywhere from 5-8 requests per
hour, this makes financial sense).

As to your second question -

First off, here's a page that aggregates information about all
Microsoft certification programs -

The following page discusses Microsoft's fraud prevention efforts -

You can report fraud using the following email address -

There is also a number to call if you have information about
individuals cheating on MS exams; I don't know whether this would
apply to individuals cheating about credentials, and it doesn't look
like they would help you verify certification - but still could be
helpful in trying to track down a more valuable source -

(800) 636-7544

Here's a page on MS cheating policies -

There's also another email address you could try - 

Searches such as -
"verifying microsoft certification"
"verifying MCSE certification"
+verifying "MCSE certification"

- do not yield any results.

The only other thing I can think of is to ask to see the original

Cisco does have a tracking system, but it does not seem to be open to
third party verification.  It's at -

Similar searches for Cisco verification did not yield anything either
- not on Google nor on the Cisco site.  You would think they would be
just as concerned about verifying certification as you are...

I'm sorry I could not be of more assistance with this; I would suggest
you follow up with the companies themselves to see if they have
non-Internet based resources.

There are no comments at this time.

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