Lost and Found: Replacing a Lost Diploma

how do you get a copy of your college diploma

It never fails. You think you know exactly where your most important documents are, until it turns out you need on of them. Oftentimes, one of the last steps in the employment process is to verify your education by providing your college diploma or educational transcript (or both). But suddenly, after receiving the job offer of your dreams, you realize that your college diploma is nowhere to be found and you can’t replace this important document without going back through hoops and hurdles. But don’t worry – there are a number of ways that will allow you to easily replace your lost or stolen college diploma so that you can enjoy peace of mind knowing where the document is at all times.

Replacing your college diploma is important because it’s one of the few documents that will be required to prove who you are and where you’ve been educated. So, what do you need to know about replacing a lost or stolen college diploma?

Replacing a lost diploma through your University

Contact the registrar

The first step anyone should take replacing a lost diploma is to contact the registrar’s office at their alma mater. Though the process is slightly different for each institution, there is a common workflow that most colleges and universities employ.

The Paperwork

Generally, you will find a form on the university website that must be printed out and returned in order to obtain a replacement diploma. The reason most institutions require a printed form instead of an online submission is because of the massive amount of information required to prove your identity. Some of the items you may see required as a part of this type of document are:

  • Reason for replacement diploma
  • Birth date
  • Social Security number
  • Name of college or university
  • Graduation date
  • Degree(s) earned
  • Current mailing address
  • A notarized sworn statement proving the diploma has been lost

Did you notice on that last bullet where it says notarized? That means that not only do you need to print out this form, fill out all of the required information, and send it through the post office back to the registrar’s office at your college, you also may need to get the document notarized. Most banks and post offices employ a notary, or there are certainly private notaries within your community, but the process of getting something notarized can take time and costs a small fee.

The Cost

Almost all educational institutions require payment for their diplomas. The reason you didn’t notice the first time you were awarded your certificate is because the cost of the diploma is rolled into the tuition you paid to your college. When you need to replace your lost diploma though, the cost can become abundantly clear. The price for a duplicate diploma is different for each college, but when researching for this piece the prices I found ranged from $50 – $150. That number is for the diploma alone, and doesn’t include any cost for postage or notary, so the price your university charges will likely increase by the time your receive your new diploma.

The Waiting Game

Possibly the largest hurdle that you may come across when trying to replace your college degree is the amount of time it will take you to actually get that fancy piece of parchment in your hands. The process for replacing your college degree can be lengthy and cumbersome because colleges are constantly receiving requests for replacement diplomas from students that have lost their original.

Most colleges state on their websites that the waiting period for a duplicate diploma can be anywhere from four to six weeks, and some even allow for a wait of up to ten weeks. That number doesn’t even take into consideration mail and shipping delays that may occur.

It may seem that reaching out to your alma mater is the simplest way to replace your college diploma that has gone missing, but as it turns out obtaining a duplicate may cost you more than time and money. By the time you can verify your education, that dream job that was almost within your grasp may no longer be a possibility.


Is there an easier way in replacing a lost diploma?

Yes, if you don’t have the time, money or patience to wait for a replacement degree through the registrar’s office at your alma mater, ValidGrad may be able to help. Through a company like ValidGrad, you can obtain replicas of your original documents at a fraction of both the time and money it would take to get them through your college.

The diplomas and transcripts supplied by ValidGrad are the most authentic replica documents available. Simply supply information like the college you attended, the degree you obtained and your personal information and for as low as $60 (or $80 for both a transcript and a diploma) you can have authentic looking replacements to your most important certificates ready and in your hands in fewer than 3 business days in most cases. If you are looking for a custom document that matches every detail of your original diploma, ValidGrad also works with clients to create a truly unique document in a much quicker timeframe than replacing your diploma through traditional avenues.

There are times when you need to produce important educational documents like diplomas or transcripts in an extremely timely manner, and you find that you have no idea where they could be. If you find yourself in this type of situation, make sure you look at all options to replace your diploma or transcript so that you find the solution that is easiest, fastest and least expensive.

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