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What to Do If You Lost Your College Diploma

Like many others, you probably lost your college diploma because of improper storage, an accident or just plain carelessness. No matter what’s true in your case, you do have options for getting a replacement as soon as possible.

Contact the Office of the Registrar at your alma mater.

As you may know, one of the responsibilities of any school registrar is maintaining student records and transcripts. Part of this task is handling requests for diploma replacement. However, you have to remember that you you will be the only one who can do that.

Since the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) was passed in 1974, the privacy of all student records in all U.S. schools has been protected. Even your family, including your spouse (if any), cannot access your school records. There are absolutely no options this, except when the owner of the requested records has passed on and the one requesting is the next of kin or estate executor of the alumnus In that case, although the exact requirements will vary from school to school, the requester will likely have to submit a written request, photocopies of the deceased’s death certificate and the requester’s driver’s license or passport, and a Power of Attorney.

Expect to pay a fee.

Again, although each school will have its own requirements, it’s likely that there will be a fee – usually around $25 to $150 – for a diploma replacement request.

You have to mail your request.

Considering that most schools are FERPA-compliant, you will need to mail your request for diploma replacement as per that law. Again, there will be no other options, and the purpose is to reduce the chances of identity theft and fraud in general. Schools usually have downloadable replacement diploma applications on their websites. It is usually a PDF that is printable from your computer, and you just fill it out manually, get it notarized and finally snail-mail it to the school’s registrar.

As You Wait for Your Replacement Diploma

In most cases, getting a replacement diploma will take a while – around five to seen weeks or even longer in some cases. If your need is immediate, however (for example, if you’re applying for a job), you might want to explore other options, one of which is getting a temporary copy.

Obviously, a temporary or substitute diploma is not an official document, but it will serve the purpose of your real diploma while you wait for it to arrive. Online, you will find a good number of websites that provide options such as this, but do make sure they’re legit before transacting with them. Losing your diploma enough headache. The last thing you want is being scammed.