If you’re like most others, you likely lost your college diploma due to an accident, wrong storage decision or simple recklessness. In any case, what matters is that you have options for having it replaced.
Approach your alma mater’s Office of the Registrar.
As you may know, one of the responsibilities of any school registrar is maintaining student records and transcripts. This includes fulfilling all diploma replacement requests. Keep in mind though that this is something on you can do and no one else.
Since 1974, a law known as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) has been protecting the privacy of student records in all schools in America. 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 If that is the case, each school will have its own requirements, but the essentials will include a copy of the alumnus’ death certificate and a photocopy of the requester’s passport or driver’s license, a Power of Attorney, and a written request.
Prepare to pay a fee.
Again, while the rules are different for each school, a replacement diploma request will probably come with a fee of about $25 to $150.
Requests should be mailed.
With most schools being FERPA-compliant, you will have to mail your request for diploma replacement in keeping with the rules. 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.
When Your Replacement Diploma Takes Too Long
Getting a replacement diploma often takes some time – about five to seven weeks or much longer sometimes. 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 original diploma for whatever reason is already a problem. Don’t make it worse by getting scammed.