Credential ReviewInternational Equivalencies& Fraud Detection
presented by Graduate School AdmissionsDecember 10, 2014
Not necessarilyone, rightwayHow does your field review credentials?What are you seeing? Trends? Cases of fraud?
Code of Legislation
To matriculate in the Graduate School, an applicant must have received a baccalaureate degreeor its equivalentfrom a college oruniversityofrecognized standing.
Grad School Recommendations
Developacredential reviewplanApply itconsistentlyFollow your instinctsSuspicious or unsure? Refer special cases to the Graduate School.The plan should include the following:Revieweach applicant’stranscripts and diplomasDoyou have alldocuments necessary to complete your assessment?Do documents appear legitimate and unaltered?Areyou familiar with the country’s educational system? The institution?Compareself-reported data withdocumentsComparebiographical and other vitalelements on all documentsDoesthe chronology make sense?Was the degree conferred?Is the translation literal?Check international degree equivalencyRelay concerns to admissions committee
Acollege or university of recognized standing
If a school or program is unfamiliar, researchit:Does it exist? Did it exist at the time the student attended?Is the institution accredited or otherwise recognized in its home country?Is the accrediting body legitimate?Does the university have any complaints on file?Online programs may be legitimate but might warrant extra scrutiny.Does the institution offer the program indicated on the transcript?What is the structure and duration of the program?
International Degree Equivalency
A USbachelor’s degreetypically requires:Completionof highschool for admission120 credits (general education, major, and elective courses)4-year programNot all international bachelor’sdegrees areequivalentA word about 3-yeardegreesIncreasing number of 3-year degreesIf applicant has 3-year degree, refer to Grad School International Degree Equivalencies web pageUnlessspecifically noted,3or4-year degrees listed on web page willbeacceptedIf the degree is not listed, ask Grad School to make a determinationA 3-year degree, when combined with an additional year of post-graduate study, is typically considered equivalentAword about graduatedegreesBe careful! In some countries, individuals can earn a master’s or other graduate degree without first earning an undergraduate degreeAll applicants must demonstrate that they’ve earned or are on track to earn the equivalent to a US bachelor’s degreeUse Grad School’sweb pageasa starting pointRefer special cases to Grad School
Types of Fraud and Other Misrepresentations
Interpretive, rather than literal,translationsAltereddocumentsFabricated documentsDegree/Diploma mills
Red Flags and Signs of Fraud
Unusual grading patternUnusual document formatInconsistent typefaceSpelling or grammatical errorsLines, words, numbers, etc. are missing(whiteout)Document is not signed or sealedUniversity is notaccredited/accreditedbybogus agenciesUniversityhas multiple complaints onfile
Case Study – Gibson University
Gibson University(http://www.gibsonuniversity.com/)The university has a .comURL (Warning! Some fraudulent or suspect institutions have an .eduURL)Most of thefacultylistedon the website arealso affiliated withRiverwoodUniversity(another online school) but thefacultybio photosshow entirely different people!Theaccrediting agenciesfromwhich theuniversity claims to have achieved “milestones” arefakeThe website isfull of typosand grammatical errors
CollegeNET China Credential Service
Verified translated documents will be available via CollegeNETThis service is free for Cornell and affordable for applicantsWe are hoping to pilotthe program this year and gather feedback from fields and applicants before deciding whether to require it in the futureOfficial document can be requested at the time of submission or later in theprocessService may be expanded to other countries
Other Things to Look Out For
Letters of RecommendationRecommenders using personal (non-institutional) e-mail addressesEspecially if letter does not include letterhead or a signatureLocate official e-mail address online and send a thank you e-mailStatement of Purpose and Writing SamplesQuality of writing—too good to be true?Compare TOEFL scores with written and spoke English
On the WebHowto Obtain Authentic Credentials forGraduate AdmissionsWorld Education Services (WES) WebinarArchivedFebruary21, 2014http://wenr.wes.org/events/event/how-to-obtain-authentic-credentials-for-graduate-admissions/How to obtain International AcademicCredentials(today’s handout)World Education Services (WES)White PaperNovember 2014http://wenr.wes.org/2014/12/how-to-obtain-authentic-international-academic-credentials/Comprehensive information aboutdiplomamills:http://www.oregonstudentaid.gov/oog-diploma-mills.aspxList of fake accreditationagencies:http://www.geteducated.com/college-degree-mills/204-fake-agencies-for-college-accreditationAccreditation reports for onlineprograms:http://www.geteducated.com/diploma-mill-police/degree-mills-listBooks and GuidesGuide to bogus institutions and documentsAACRAO, American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers - 2006Degree mills: the billion-dollar industry that has sold over a million fake diplomasAllen Ezell - John Bear - Prometheus Books - 2012The impact of Bologna and three-year degrees on U.S. AdmissionsAACRAO, American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers -2007The AACRAO International Graduate Admissions GuideAACRAO, American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers -2003Graduate School Transcript LibraryTheGraduate School is compiling a transcript library consisting of sample original transcripts from domestic and international institutions.