How to Obtain a Copy of Your High School Diploma

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This article was co-authored by Alexander Ruiz, M.Ed.. Alexander Ruiz is an educational consultant and director of education at Link Educational Institute, a Claremont, California-based tutoring company that offers personalized educational plans, course and test tutoring, and college application consulting. With over a decade and a half of experience in the education industry, Alexander coaches students to increase their self-awareness and emotional intelligence while attaining skills and the goal of higher education and skills. He has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Florida International University and a master’s degree in education from Georgia Southern University. This article has been viewed 130,589 times.

It’s easy to lose or damage your high school diploma. If this has happened to you, you should be able to replace it fairly easily. Sometimes you can get a new copy directly from your school, and sometimes you may need to contact your school district office or your state Department of Education. Once you’ve found the right agency, you’ll usually need to fill out a form and pay a fee. So you will usually receive your new diploma in 2-3 weeks!

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    Look for the online records request system on your school’s website. Look up the name of your school on the Internet, be as specific as possible. Some high school names are not unique, so adding your school’s location information can help you find the right website. The website may have a page for information on searching student records.[1]

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    Call or email the school if their website does not have information on how to obtain records. Your school’s website may not have a records inquiry page, but it will have details on how to contact them. If your school has a registrar, please contact them directly.[2]
    If not, contact an administrative assistant and ask them to point you in the right direction.

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    Request a copy directly from the school or ask where you can get one. Some schools issue copies of diplomas themselves, but others do not. In these cases, they will refer you to another agency, most likely the school district office or the state Department of Education. If you can request a copy at the school, they will explain the process.[3]

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    Complete the application forms if applicable. You may need to fill out an official application form, either on paper or online. They usually only ask for basic information, such as your name, address, graduation date, and signature. If you now live in another city or state, you can print the forms online or have them mailed to you.

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    If necessary, pay a processing fee. Expect to pay a small fee to obtain your copy, usually between $5 and $15. If you submit an official application by mail, expect to need a money order or certified check instead of a basic personal check.[4]
    Online systems generally accept credit or debit cards.[5]

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    Please allow a few weeks to receive your copy in the mail. Copies of diplomas are almost always sent by post. Please do not expect to receive an electronic copy unless otherwise instructed. On average, please plan to allow 2-3 weeks for your application to be processed and submitted. Your school should be able to tell you the average processing time.

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    Find how to request a copy on your school district’s website. If your school has closed since you graduated or they have not been able to help you, contact your school district office. Your website should be easy to find with an Internet search.[6]

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    Find your state Department of Education website if you cannot reach your district. Even if you can contact your school district, there is a chance that they will refer you to the Department of Education, if they handle diplomas in your state. If you prefer, you can try contacting your Department of Education before contacting your school district. The agency that processes these requests varies from place to place.[7]
    Education departments often have websites that are easy to find and navigate.

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    Find the record request page, if there is one. You can find this page with an unexpected title in the site directory. On the New York Department of Education site, for example, information about pursuing diplomas is in a section called “High School Equivalency.”

    • If you can’t find the information you need by browsing the site, try doing a Google search for something like “copy of Tennessee Department of Education diploma.”
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    Call or email the Department of Education if you have any questions. The school district or Department of Education website should have contact information if you need additional help. The number listed will most likely call an administrative assistant, who can direct you to the person you need to speak to.

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    Fill out all the necessary forms. Once you’ve learned about the specific process for your school district or state, simply follow the guidelines. As with requesting a copy from your high school, there will usually be a form that you will need to fill out. In most cases, they will ask for basic information, such as your name, mailing address, year of graduation, and your signature.[8]

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    pay the processing fee. Most of the time, the Department of Education or school district will charge you a processing fee. It is usually somewhere between $5 and $15. Be prepared to provide a money order or certified check if you mail the forms. Often you cannot use a personal check. If you pay online, you should be able to use a credit card.[9]

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    Please allow 2-3 weeks to receive a copy of your diploma. Most of the time, this will be mailed to you. Expect an electronic copy only if you were specifically promised one. It will take an average of 2-3 weeks for the Department of Education or school district to process your application and send your copy.[10]

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