What to Do If You Lost Your College Diploma

Improper storage, an accident or plain negligence. In any case, what matters is that you have options for having it replaced.

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. This includes fulfilling all diploma replacement requests. But do keep in mind there is no other person who will be able to do that but you.

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 spouse and other family members are not given access to your academic 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.

Expect to pay a fee.

Again, though schools may have their unique requirements, a replacement diploma request fee, ranging from $25 to $150, will likely be in the picture.

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. If is common for schools to have downloadable diploma replacement request forms on their website. This is typically a PDF that you can print and fill out by hand, and then you need to have it notarized before sending it to your alma mater’s registrar.

While Waiting for Your Replacement Diploma

Getting a replacement diploma often takes some time – about five to seven weeks or much longer sometimes. If your need is urgent though (for instance, if you’ve been scheduled for a job interview), you might have to look into other options, like getting a temporary diploma.

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. There are several websites that offer this among many other options, but do ensure that you research the background of the service that you plan to use. Losing your original diploma for whatever reason is already a problem. Don’t make it worse by getting scammed.