Pilot Program to Enable Dutch and U.S. Higher Education Institutions to Verify Student Credentials Online at No Cost

world256x256April 15, 2013, Herndon, Virginia – The National Student Clearinghouse and DUO, an agency of the Dutch Ministry of Education, are developing a pilot to enable student postsecondary credentials to be verified between U.S. and Dutch institutions via the Web at no cost. The pilot is based on a longtime service, DegreeVerify, provided by the Clearinghouse at no charge to more than 2,000 colleges and universities within the United States.Whether for Dutch students looking to study in the U.S. or American students in the Netherlands, degrees (along with enrollment for students attending U.S. institutions) will be able to be verified through this program. Verifying information digitally creates cost- and time-saving opportunities by minimizing time-consuming paper documentation, which greatly accelerates admissions timetables without compromising authenticity. This service, expected to be implemented in the fall of 2013, will be free to all participating U.S. and Dutch institutions.

In April 2012, the first annual Digital Student Data Depositories Worldwide (DSDDW) seminar was held in Groningen, the Netherlands. As a result, the Groningen Declaration was created and signed by the Clearinghouse along with the other foundational members, including seven countries and two European educational organizations. It states the need for “a more complete and far-reaching delivery of digital student data.” The DUO pilot program is one result of this declaration. It will serve as a model as to how data exchange can be implemented worldwide between other nations.

The DUO pilot program was presented at DSDDW 2013, recently held in Beijing, China, and sponsored by the Clearinghouse and the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO). The pilot, along with other DSDDW developments, will also be discussed today, April 15, by a panel of attendees of the Beijing seminar, including Rick Torres, president and CEO of the Clearinghouse, at the annual AACRAO meeting in San Francisco.

“As we navigate through a new world of technological advances that allow us to move into a ‘paperless’ era, programs like the one championed by DUO and the Clearinghouse will become increasingly important worldwide. Today, there are over 750,000 international students studying in the U.S., and all estimates have those numbers increasing pretty dramatically over the next few years. The current work burden for international admissions staff at U.S. universities is a clear pain point for most institutions. Scaling this effort will create an environment where greater numbers of students and skilled workers, along with their student record data, can move freely on a global scale, with a high level of transparency and reduction of administrative work burdens,” stated Mr. Torres. “We are proud to be at the forefront of digital student data portability and authentication, and look forward to working with other nations on their programs.”

According to Dik Van der Wal, director of International Services, at DUO, “DUO is happy to support this process, learning from each other’s experiences and taking these small yet concrete steps. Both the Clearinghouse and DUO are in agreement around student data privacy, institutional and student data ownership, and securing that all transactions meet the privacy guarantees of each country.”

About DUO
DUO is the Dutch government’s implementation organization for education. DUO finances and informs students and educational institutions and organizes examinations. In short, DUO makes good education possible. DUO’s International Services department is the bridge between education and the international labor market. It recognizes and legalizes Diplomas and functions as the national Europass Centre. DUO’s most extensive duties are the funding of educational institutions and the distribution of student loans and grants. Every year, DUO finances about 9,000 educational institutes in primary, secondary and tertiary education. Every year we process about 30 billion euros. About 700,000 students in the Netherlands receive their student finance via DUO.  We also organize about 200,000 examinations a year.

About the National Student Clearinghouse
The National Student Clearinghouse (a nonprofit formed in 1993) is the trusted source for and leading provider of higher education verifications and electronic education record exchanges, handling more than 700 million verification requests and 200 million education record exchanges annually. The Clearinghouse serves as a single point of contact for the collection and timely exchange of accurate and comprehensive enrollment, degree, and certificate records on behalf of its more than 3,300 participating higher education institutions, which represent 96 percent of all students in public and private U.S. institutions. The Clearinghouse also provides thousands of high schools and districts with continuing collegiate enrollment, progression, and completion statistics on their alumni.

Through its verification, electronic exchange, and reporting services, the Clearinghouse saves the education community cumulatively nearly four hundred million dollars annually. Most Clearinghouse services are provided to colleges and universities at little or no charge, including enhanced transcript and research services, enabling institutions to redistribute limited staff and budget resources to more important student service efforts. Clearinghouse services are designed to facilitate an institution’s compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, The Higher Education Act, and other applicable laws.

In addition, the Clearinghouse provides accurate, timely enrollment and degree verifications to student loan providers, employers, student credit issuers, the U.S. Department of Education, and others who access its registry more than half a billion times annually. For more information, visit http://www.studentclearinghouse.org.