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Cited from The Background Investigator
The Background Investigator February 2009 Issue

Academic Verifications Primer

Do you ever get a gut feeling that something is not right when you receive conflicting / derogatory information from an academic verification? For those times we have put together some ideas that might help you find the correct answer.

Are you looking for archived information? - The age of the person and / or the year they graduated may be a clue that the information is archived and therefore not readily accessible. Similar to court systems school boards, Colleges and Universities archive their records after a certain number of years. If you are verifying a degree and are told that there is no record of this person, the question to ask is how far back do your records go, and are these records obtainable. Is the correct office being contacted? - Generally academic verifications are conducted through the Registrars Office. In certain circumstances a person may have received a degree through a program such as Continuing Education or a special weekend program where the records are kept separately. By questioning if there are other places at the university that would maintain this information you will avoid returning a no record of attendance or a degree was not obtained response to your client.

Maiden names - When you are verifying a degree by a person's last name and not social security number the maiden name needs to be questioned when no record of attendance is the given response. This is particularly important when verifying high school diplomas.

Are you comparing apples to apples? - Clarification that you and the registrars representative are comparing the same information. Many times a person has received more than one degree from a school. If this is the case, clarifying that the correct degree and dates are being compared is important.

High school diplomas offer problems of their own - One important point to keep in mind is whether the person actually received a diploma from the school or if they received a GED. Many times applicants do not separate the difference between the actual graduation and the receipt of a GED. When this happens there is a high likely hood that the high school will say that the person did not graduate necessitating a call to the State GED board or separate verification sight.

After presenting these ideas that could help satisfy your gut feeling that something is not right, it is only fair to pose the following question: How many calls and inquiries should you make before you reach the point where the verification is costing more than you are charging the customer? In an industry where the profit margins are getting tighter one has to balance maintaining a satisfied customer against diminishing profit margins.

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