Do you always contact educational institutions in other countries to verify documents submitted for evaluation?
Our trained evaluation staff reviews all educational documents submitted to establish their authenticity.
We reserve the right to contact educational and other institutions to verify the authenticity of any documents received. In the limited cases in which we must contact institutions for verification, the evaluation process may be delayed, sometimes substantially.
Normally, we will wait a maximum of six months for a satisfactory response to our verification requests. During this period we will make two attempts to contact the issuing institution using the best contact information available to us, including email, post, and fax.
Because the verification of documents depends on the responsiveness of third parties in other countries, this process can significantly delay the preparation of our evaluation report and, in some cases, may prevent us from completing a report. We will not issue an evaluation report when substantial concerns about the documents submitted have not been satisfactorily resolved.
What are the verification and authentication services you use?
Many government-authorized agencies and educational institutions around the world provide services to verify or authenticate educational documents. These services include online databases, internet authentication services, or official institutions or agencies that send authenticated official documents directly to us by mail. Please see the Documentation Requirements for individual countries to determine whether or not a verification or authentication service is required in your case.
Do I need to submit original documents if you also require a verification or authentication service?
You should review the Documentation Requirements by country to determine if original documents are required in addition to a verification or authentication service. In general, it is not necessary to provide original documents for information contained in a verification or authentication response. However, in some cases the verified information does not cover the complete set of documents. For example, if we can verify graduation online through the school, but not the content or grades of the subjects studied, then an original grade report would be required along with a simple photocopy of the degree.
Does ECE consider 3-year degrees equivalent to U.S. Bachelor degrees?
The National Center for Education Statistics defines a bachelor’s degree as “An award that normally requires at least 4 but not more than 5 years of full-time equivalent college-level work.” (http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/glossary/index.asp?id=77)
It is a basic principle of applied comparative education that one year of full time study at one university, in one country, is roughly equivalent to one year of full time study at any other university in any other country. Therefore, in our judgment, a bachelor's program which requires a minimum of three years full time undergraduate study is not the equivalent of a bachelor's degree program in the Unites States; rather, it represents completion of the equivalent of three years of full time undergraduate study in the United States.
Some students take less than four years to complete a bachelor's degree program in the US, as a result of receiving advanced standing and/or taking classes on an accelerated schedule. However, this is based on exceptional circumstances and does not change the fact that the bachelor's degree program in the US is defined as normally requiring a minimum of four years (eight semesters) of full-time academic work. We are aware of no regionally-accredited bachelor's degrees in the United States that are defined as normally requiring no more than three years (six semesters) of full time undergraduate study.
Completing a four-year bachelor's degree in less than four years in the US is an exception and does not change how the bachelor's degree is defined in the US. It is not appropriate, in our judgment, to compare what is an exception in the US to what is the norm in any other country. Thus, a degree that is defined in another country as requiring a minimum of three years of study would not normally be, in our judgment, the equivalent of a degree that is defined in the US as requiring a minimum of four years of study.