What to Do if You Lose Your College Diploma: A Helpful Guide

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Apr 6, 2020

Apr 6, 2020 • by Rebecca Smith

Did you graduate many years ago and forget where you stored your college diploma? Or perhaps you lost it due to a fire, move, or natural disaster. 

In any case, a lost college diploma can create headaches when you need to prove that you graduated for a job or educational program. Luckily, employers can often get this information through a background check. But even if they can't, rest assured you still have some options. 

Read on to learn about a few ways you can handle a lost diploma.

Reach Out to Your College

If your college still operates, head to their website and look for the section for the registrar or student records. You'll usually find options to both request transcripts and get your diploma reissued.

This process often involves filling out an online form and paying a fee by credit card. You'll usually need to provide your name, birthdate, and proof of identity like your student identification number. It can take several weeks for the copy of your degree to arrive.

If you'd prefer not requesting your lost diploma online, you can look up your college's number and speak to someone at the student records department for information. Expect to provide similar information to get your replacement college diploma mailed.

Check With Your State Department of Education

When it comes to how to get a copy of your diploma for a closed school, the process can get trickier. 

Sometimes, your closed school will still have a website up where students can request records. If so, you may have the option to just fill out an order form and have the diploma mailed.

However, you may need to contact your state's department of education if the college has closed and provided no instructions on replacing a lost diploma. They can provide information on whether you can obtain your records through them. Usually, the state will maintain records for a period of time such as 20 years.

If your state can locate your college records, you can expect to fill out a student records request form. For the most success, include as much information about your school and program along with identifying information.

Consider an Alternative Diploma

Although it won't work if you need the diploma for a job or other official purpose, you can get a fake diploma online for certain situations. 

For example, ordering this kind of diploma can work if you just want to use your diploma as a prop that you display in your work area. However, you should still take all steps necessary to have an official replacement diploma coming to you.

Try These College Diploma Replacement Options

With these options available, you don't have to sweat it if you've lost your original college diploma. You'll very likely get a copy easily through your school or state.

If you somehow still can't get your lost diploma replaced, you can always try explaining the situation to the person requesting it. They might also accept other documents like college transcripts that prove your education.

Be sure to check out our other posts for more helpful career advice.