Finding out if someone graduated from a particular college or university is not challenging provided that you have the necessary information to perform a credential check. It's important to gather as much information as you can before contacting the school directly to save time and get the information you require. All institutions of higher learning have records of their graduates that are accessible to potential employers or agents for the government.

Verify that you have the correct school name. Phoenix University doesn't exist, but University of Phoenix does. If you have a copy of the degree, look at the name of the institution first before beginning your search. Search for the school online.

Get the full name, birth date and graduation date of the person you want to verify. Ask for the maiden name or other names the person may have registered under. Ask for the degree awarded. When possible, get a signed release of information if you haven't done so on the employment application.

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Contact the Office of the Registrar at the school. The registrar will have the date of graduation on file. If you don't want to contact the university directly, you can research the information through a paid service online, such as the National Student Clearinghouse or fax the information to the school. Provide the name, birth date and date of graduation, along with current address. If you have a Social Security number or student identification number, give that information to the registrar's office.

Ask the person for a copy of the degree, certified transcripts and accreditation of the university. A legitimate degree-holder will have these credentials or will be able to get these credentials in a short amount of time.


  • Get as much information before you begin your research. It saves time.
  • Try to call the Office of the Registrar in the middle of the week or in the middle of the school semester to avoid long waits.
  • If the person you're researching has a common name, get both birth date, address and degree awarded to avoid confusion.
  • If the degree was awarded a long time ago, expect it to take more time for the Registrar to find the information.


  • Don't pretend to be the person you're researching. Identity theft is a crime.
  • You cannot require Social Security information until a hiring decision is made.
  • If the school no longer exists or appears to have never existed, be cautious about accepting the degree.
  • If the person refuses to provide certified transcripts or the accreditation of the university, it's a clear indication that the person may not have a degree.
  • States such as Wyoming, Alabama and Mississippi are known for having many unaccredited schools or false credentialing companies. Take a second look at degrees from these states.

Things Needed

  • Full name
  • Maiden name
  • Birth date
  • Social Security number
  • Student number
  • Date of graduation
  • Copy of degree or certificate
  • Signed release of information
  • Internet
  • Phone
  • Fax

About the Author

Laura Allen has worked as a professional grant writer for over seven years and pursued many volunteer and freelance writing projects within the metropolitan Detroit area. Allen holds a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from Oakland University and is pursuing her master's degree in public administration with a focus on nonprofit management.