Our company hired someone for something important before our time, and I suspect that their credentials are made up—they don't have an actual degree, and the advice they provided is stupid, and potentially damages the company, especially if they lack a degree. For various reasons, I have been assigned instead of HR to find out if the degree actually exists, the earlier the better.

How do you as a workplace who employs someone, call a university to find out "Hey, did so and so study at your university? Did they pass?" I'm not sure which department to call, or if there's a standard procedure, or if you're supposed to pay someone to do it. I presume it's possible, because people verified my degree was authentic, but I am not completely sure what the standard procedure is.

It's in the USA and their degree was supposedly in the 80s, so I dunno if it would be digitized.

Update: I have all relevant documents and authorization from the CEO. So, I can do anything that HR can do. I just need to know the appropriate method to do the verification.

  • 3
    I guess I read a similar question, recently, on Academia.SE. I cannot find it at the moment, however, but this subject was discussed there, repeatedly: How do employers verify that job applicants have the degree(s) they claim? Oct 25, 2023 at 22:21
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    In short you, as just employee, won't be able to do such thing. Why would you want to anywy? Raise your concernts with whomever applicable and let them handle it. Also keep in mind that unless you are expert in the field the new hire gives advice on (and I mean expert as actual fact, not your opinion), then you are not likely to be reliable to judge quality of their opinion. Something to keep in mind.
    – Aida Paul
    Oct 25, 2023 at 23:12
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    Are you the owner, CEO or one of the Executives of the company, who has the authority to verify the degree, and employment history of an employee ? If not, then you should not go around and call the university to verify the degree of that employee. The best solution is to talk to HR and let them handle it. Oct 26, 2023 at 0:15
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    You realize that it might well be that their degree is 100% legit and that they are actually doing what they were taught... just that the advice that was good advice 40 years ago is considered dangerous now, because we as a society learn from mistakes?
    – nvoigt
    Oct 26, 2023 at 4:44
  • 4
    @DavidR: The degree likely is material because "fired upon discovery of fraud" is a quick solution to an employee making horrible mistakes.
    – Ben Voigt
    Oct 26, 2023 at 21:20

3 Answers 3


Ask your HR, and let them do their job. HR certainly knows how to verify this kind of info. They can also hire a third party agency to verify the info in a legitimate way.

A third party agency can do all kinds of verifications such as degrees of education, employment history, etc... in a perfectly professional and legal way. This saves your company lots of time, and other potential troubles.


Updated my answer based on the OP's new note below:

"I have all relevant documents and authorization from the CEO. So, I can do anything that HR can do. I just need to know the appropriate method to do the verification."

  1. In the US, one company that handles the employment and education background check is: checkr.

    Here is their LinkedIn profile: checkr LinkedIn Profile

    (Disclosure: I am not affiliated with checkr in any way. There are many good and reputable companies that do the background check.)

  2. The checkr website says "Employers who plan to conduct education background checks in-house can use the National Student Clearinghouse, a national online portal that verifies education histories. This requires registering with the clearinghouse and demonstrating that you have a valid reason to request the applicant’s information."

  3. In the US, here is the National Student Clearing House that provides educational records for US universities/colleges.

  • 3
    The question directly states "For various reasons, I rather than HR have been assigned to find out". As such, the first half of this answer is completely non-responsive to the question. You don't ask the fox to guard the henhouse and you don't ask HR to investigate themselves. OP only hinted at why, but we can guess that the employee under investigation either runs HR or has significant leverage with HR.
    – Ben Voigt
    Oct 26, 2023 at 21:19
  • Yeah, as I said, HR isn't an option. Do you have a good suggestion for which third party agency to use?
    – Nepene Nep
    Oct 26, 2023 at 23:19
  • 2
    I have all relevant documents and authorization from the CEO, so I can do anything that HR can do, I just need the appropriate method. Thanks for this.
    – Nepene Nep
    Oct 27, 2023 at 10:10
  • OK. Thanks for the new comment that lets us know that the CEO gives you the authorization to do the verification. Good luck. Oct 28, 2023 at 2:23

For various reasons, I have been assigned instead of HR to find out if the degree actually exists, the earlier the better.

Before you try and investigate another employee, you need to know if the company is 100% behind you. If you get caught and everything blows up in your face, you don't want to discover that your and the person above you will be getting all the punishment.

If this isn't an official company activity then the safest thing would be to get the information about the method to get the diploma information, and then turn that link over to the person that assigned you the task.

In the United States the place to start would be National Student Clearinghouse verification services.

You will need PII Personal Identifiable Information:

PII is defined as information: (i) that directly identifies an individual (e.g., name, address, social security number or other identifying number or code, telephone number, email address, etc.).

Unless you needed to have access to PII in the course of your job, then the company, the person who gave you the information, and yourself could face severe punishment.

For you there are nothing but risks in this task.


Every transcript and legit certification have instructions on how to verify its legitimacy. Even easily accessible ones that I got from online courses such as edX has them.

If you can't find it on the copies that you have, look up the institution and call them. Tell the receptionist that you need to verify a degree's legitimacy and the receptionist will help you. Academic institutions will absolutely NOT tolerate fraudulent use of their name and will definitely help you out.

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