Recent UC Berkeley graduates struggle to obtain graduation verification

Hannah Cooper/Staff

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Proof of graduation is a requirement for many employers, but some UC Berkeley students have encountered difficulties obtaining these documents after graduation.

According to the Office of the Registrar website, diplomas are mailed automatically and are usually available three and a half months after graduation. Campus spokesperson Adam Ratliff explained in an email that degrees are presented a couple months after the end of the term. He added that the actual degrees will be conferred March 13. Once degrees are released, students are able to request a verification of their degree through CalCentral.

“Currently, it takes a little over 2 months for department, college/school and central campus staff to determine that students have met all of their graduation requirements,” Ratliff said in the email.

But Patrick Chang, a UC Berkeley graduate with a bachelor of arts in sociology, said he struggled to obtain his degree when he graduated last semester. Chang said his employers required a form to prove he had graduated from university, but he was unable to complete their request because he did not yet have his diploma.

“I can see from the company’s standpoint why they need a diploma from you to show that you’re legitimate,” Chang said. “It’s the university’s fault that they don’t give us our diplomas right away. If we are paying this much tuition, I would hope to at least get my diploma that shows I graduated right away. It’s somewhat of a nuisance at times.”

Justin Acance, a UC Berkeley graduate with a bachelor of arts in sociology, said in a Facebook message that he requested proof of graduation this week. A counselor informed him that his degree had not been posted yet despite the fact that Acance had graduated in the fall 2016 semester. Acance suggested that the system migration to CalCentral may have caused delays with his verification process.

Ratliff acknowledged that in the fall 2016 semester, there was a small number of degree candidates who had problems with their records because of the new Student Information Systems implementation.

“The Office of the Registrar is working hard to resolve all system conversion issues as quickly as possible,” Ratliff said in the email. “This remaining group of students will be cleared for graduation no later than March 24th.”

According to Ratliff, because degree information is public, employers are able to confirm degrees using National Student Clearinghouse, which provides verification, education reporting and research services.

Ratliff added that students who need proof of graduation prior to the official campus conferral must have a member of the Office of the Registrar review their record, and once all requirements for graduation are cleared, they can post the degree ad hoc. After this process, the students should be able to order a degree verification from CalCentral.

UC Berkeley’s process of degree verification, however, differs in comparison to private universities in California.

Christine Robbin, transcript and verification specialist at Santa Clara University, explained that degree verification at Santa Clara University only takes about a month, while obtaining a diploma takes about two months. She added that once degrees are posted, students can request a transcript, which takes between one week and one month to process.

The conferral of degrees at Stanford University is available three business days after the conferral date, according to Stanford University’s Office of the Registrar Student Affairs webpage. Students who require evidence of conferral may order transcripts after this date.

Ratliff asserted in an email that the campus is consistently improving the verification process.

“We are actively working on speeding up the degree checkout process,” Ratliff said in the email.

Contact Ananya Sreekanth at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @asreekanth_dc.