Category Archives: Credentials

Introducing ACEI’s 5-Step Refugee Guide

November 16th, 2017

A 5-Step Guide to Help Refugees/Displaced People without/limited Documentation

The displacement of people can occur at any time and to any one, whether as a result of a natural disaster such as an earthquake, tsunami, flood, hurricane, wild fire, or civil war, political unrest and regional warfare. In the midst of such calamities, people may be left with nothing but the clothing on their back or a handful of memorabilia and essentials. Many fleeing their homes and in some cases, their countries, may leave behind precious documents or lose them in the aftermath of a natural disaster or war. In this blog, we offer our 5-step practical guide to those academic institutions faced with assisting refugee/displaced candidates from outside the U.S.

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5 Steps

  1. Assess the Overall Situation
  2. Reconstruct the Individual’s Academic History

  3. Gather Documents

  4. Assess Competency

  5. Verify

Let’s dive deeper into each one of these 5 steps:

Step 1.  Assess the Overall Situation

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Assessing the overall situation helps us determine if the claim for lack of documentation is legitimate (e.g. is the source country at war or devastated by natural/environmental crisis and if so, when did this occur?).

  • Check U.S. Department of State Website for alerts and country updates
  • Search Internet on recent news
  • Email the institution
  • Telephone the institution (find a native speaker or someone fluent in the language to help you with the call)

Step 2. Reconstruct Academic History

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Assessing a refugee/displaced person’s academic history is similar to trying to assemble a jigsaw puzzle where several pieces maybe missing. Reconstructing the individual’s academic history will help you have an overview of the person’s studies so that you can begin to fit the pieces together.

Here are some suggestions to help you with this process:

  • Follow your institution’s general procedures (as you would all prospective applicants)
  • Require completion of an application
  • Require submission of official academic documents (this will demonstrate to you what documents, if any, the individual has in his/her possession)
  • Conduct an interview

Step 3. Gather Documents

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Before you rule out the possibility of available documents, set out to gather any academic and supporting documents you can from the applicant.

These documents may include any of the following:

  • Student ID cards
  • Registration cards/enrollment slips
  • Any transcripts, certificates/diplomas
  • Copies of licenses/permits to practice a profession
  • Certificates of professional standing
  • Awards/Trophies/Medals for academic achievements
  • State examinations certification
  • Proof of tuition payments/receipts from institution’s bursary
  • Sworn statements/affidavits from exiled faculty/school administrators
  • Newspaper clippings or Internet links/articles/announcements or printed lists of graduated students

Step 4. Assess Course Competency

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Academic institutions have the means to assess an applicant’s competency in a course or courses.

Assessment of course competency maybe carried out through the following:

  • Interview by member of faculty
  • Assignment of special project
  • Offer challenge/placement exam

Step 5. Verify

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The final step is to verify and check everything that you have gathered to reconstruct a portfolio of your candidate.

Here are some suggested verification techniques to consider:

  • Confirm (again) the crisis situation in the country and institution with official sources (e.g. U.S. Department of State)
  • Ensure that you have in-house expertise on the country/region in question and its education system
  • Compare and verify any documents gathered against samples from same country and institutions in your archives
  • Use social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram for your applicant and LinkedIn and websites for scholars from the conflict area. (e.g.: http://bit.ly/2zd6k1x)  
  • When in doubt, consult the advice of colleagues through your membership with professional associations in the field, and/or reach out to external sources such as independent evaluation services (Endorsed Members of AICE – Association of International Credential Evaluators).

links

Useful Links:

Association of International Credential Evaluators

ENIC-European Network of Information in the European Region-NARIC-National Academic Recognition Information Centres in the European Union

NOKUT – European Qualification Passport for Refugees

UC Davis “Article 26 Backpack”

US Department of State

The World Factbook Central Intelligence Agency

For information and assistance with the evaluation of international academic credentials, please visit our website at www.acei-global.org or call us at 1-310-275-3530.

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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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Dispatch from the NAFSA I, II, and IV Tri-Regional Conference in Denver

November 9th, 2017

Denver

Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI) attended the NAFSA: Association of International Educators, Tri-Regional conference this week in Denver.

855 international education professionals joined together to discuss issues surrounding the applied comparative education arena and looking toward to future to build bridges to advocate for our profession. The excellent conference held nine workshops, 131 professionals from all variety of services, 35 states represented, 115 poster sessions, the exhibition hall had record-breaking numbers with a total of 80 exhibitors, and they closed with a silent auction gala on the last evening.

From the Tri-Regional Conference website, it states that the NAFSA Region I, II, IV Tri-Regional Conference will bring sessions on current topics, established best practices, and emerging trends facing international educators in these regions.

Region I is comprised of the states of Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington. Region II is comprised of the states of  Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Utah, Wyoming. Region IV is comprised of the states of Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota.

Dr. Esther Brimmer, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of NAFSA: Association of International Educators, welcomed a large group of interested participants at breakfast on the first day of the conference.

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NAFSA Executive Director, Dr. Brimmer & Laura Sippel, ACEI’s Director of Marketing

As Dr. Brimmer welcomed the group, she expressed three ways we can build bridges to help move international education forward. First, she indicated that we need to keep honing our skills as international educators, secondly, building relationships and expanding our knowledge of working with colleagues, and lastly, being a collective community brings us together to improve our communication.

She indicated that learning about new techniques to address issues we face today will bring us together. “By joining together to be a bold voice to advocate for our field builds strong bridges for our international students,” Brimmer said. “We have to build on three levels: local, regional, and national. When we look to each other, we find strength and get tools to be a part of the solution. We have the tools to build a strong bridge and it will withstand the new challenges and we will have a more welcoming United States.”

Dr. Brimmer continued to ask what powerful and positive stories we can tell on our campuses, provide stories that resonate with our field, and that we build bridges together. She said we face roadblocks, but by speaking to State Representatives about the general climate for immigrants, we create a vibrant, diverse community.

The conference held several sessions providing trends, issues, best practices, and tools in our field.

ACEI held a lively “spin-the-wheel” to win a prize!  Many attendees stated this was the best way to get attendees involved and make new contacts and stay in touch with dear colleagues.

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The NAFSA Tri-Regional conference held individual state meetings and Dr. Brimmer personally attended the Region II (Arizona) state meeting, addressing the special needs of each state.

“NAFSA is dedicated to learning about our needs and providing ways to move us forward. I’m looking to the future and what helps our field in the first place,” Brimmer said. “We cannot be experts about your states, but we have a state-level tool kit. We can give back to our regions to be a part of such an amazing field.”

The well-attended business luncheon recognized leaders and emerging leaders of our field and indicated we are stronger than ever. The Conference Chair thanked all the people possible for making this great conference possible.

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NAFSA Luncheon

The conference concluded with an elegant silent auction and gala. This conference broke attendance records and indeed built bridges for our profession in Denver. ACEI had a very productive conference!

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Laura Sippel
Director of Marketing
Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute (ACEI).

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25 Fast Facts on Kenya and its Education System

November 2nd, 2017

On October 31, 2017 Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta was been re-elected for a second term after securing more than 98% of the vote in a highly-contentious rerun election that was boycotted by his main opposition rival.

The recent presidential elections in Kenya have prompted us to report our blog on Kenya where we share with you 25 facts on the country and its education system.

Fast Country Facts:

1. Kenya lies directly on the equator, and is surrounded by Uganda to the south, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia to the north.

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2. The size of the country is 582,000 square miles.

3. Some of the oldest known paleontological records of man’s history have been found in Kenya. Kenya’s Great Rift Valley was formed around 20 million years ago, when the crust of the Earth was split.

4. Kenya has a population of 43.5 million with 3.1 million people living in its capital city, Nairobi.

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Nairobi, Kenya

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Photo credit: Amateur South African Gareth Jones was one of the drivers stuck in the traffic jam on 6/25/13 and decided to get out and photograph the unique scene.

5. Although it does not have an official religion, Christianity is highly prevalent throughout the country.

6. English and Swahili are the country’s official languages.

7. It gained its independence from Great Britain in 1963 and became a parliamentary democracy with a presidential republic with a multi-party system. The government has three branches of power: the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary. The Executive is headed by the president, who is democratically elected for a five-year term. The current president is Uhuru Kenyatta.

8. The Kenyan flag is comprised of three colors, black, red and white edges, and green. In the middles of the horizontal flag is a red, white and black Maasai shield. The Massai shield is a traditional symbol in Kenya that is used to symbolize the defense of the country.

Kenya_Flag

Fast Facts on Kenya’s Education System:

9. The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology oversee the country’s entire education system.

10. Old System: 7-4-2-3; established in 1963 after Kenya gained independence. The education system was modelled after the British system and included seven years of primary education, four years of lower secondary education, two years of upper secondary education and three years of university.

11. Current System: 8-4-4-; introduced in 1985 and uses the U.S. education system as a model. It includes eight years of primary education, four years of secondary education and four years of university.

12. School year runs from January to December. The academic year for universities runs from September to June.

13. In 1963 there were only 151 secondary schools, with a total enrolment of 30,120 students. Today there are nearly 3,000 secondary schools with a total enrolment of 620,000 students. Of this total, slightly over 40% are girls

14. Primary education usually starts at six years of age and runs for eight years. At the end of the 8th year, students take exams intended for the award of the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) which covers the following five subjects: Kiswahili, English, mathematics, science and agriculture, and social studies.

15. Secondary school education usually starts at fourteen years of age and, after the introduction of the 8 4-4 system of education which replaced the 7-4-2-3 system, runs for four years. At the end of the 4th year of secondary school, students take exams intended for the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE). The KCSE are national exams administered by the National Examinations Council.

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Form four candidates at the Starehe Boys Centre sit for a KCSE paper.

16. Vocational secondary education is available at youth polytechnics for those wishing to pursue a trade and follows after completion of primary education and the award of the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE). These programs lead to a variety of diplomas and certificates.

17. Post-secondary technical study programs are delivered by various technical training institutes and institutes of technology. The admission requirement is generally a KCSE with a C average. The study programs offered by technical training institutes and institutes of technology vary in duration. Post-secondary study programs also lead to a variety of certificates and diplomas.

18. Higher education in Kenya includes universities that are either public or private. There are a total of seven public universities; these are independent and funded by the government. Public universities are established through Acts of Parliament. Private universities are established through the process of accreditation by Commission on Higher Education (CHE).

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19. At the tertiary level, there are also national polytechnics which offer higher professional education leading to a certificate, diploma and higher national diploma. Two polytechnics have been upgraded to university status and offer degree programs.
20. Admission to higher education at public universities in Kenya is overseen by the Joint Admissions Board (JAB) and has representatives from all public universities as well as the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology and the Commission for Higher Education (CHE). Acceptance to a bachelor’s degree program required the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) with a C+ average.

21. Admission to certificate and diploma programs at polytechnics requires the KCSE with a D+ or C- average, respectively.

22. University education in Kenya consists of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs. Universities also offer Diplomas and Certificates.

23. Bachelor’s degree programs usually consist of major and minor subjects. Depending on the discipline chosen, a bachelor’s program may take 4 to 6 years.

24. Master’s degree program usually take 1 or 2 years. The first year mainly consists of lectures, with the second year spent doing research and end with a final paper. In most cases, admission to a master’s program requires a minimum of an upper second class bachelor’s degree. Those with a bachelor’s qualification below upper second class may be required to complete a postgraduate diploma in the related field before being admitted into the master’s program.

25. A doctorate degree (PhD or DPhil) is awarded after a period of at least 3 years of research conducted during the doctoral program. Admission to a doctorate degree program requires a master’s degree.

Sources:
http://nationfacts.net/kenya-facts/
http://www.kenyaembassy.com/aboutkenyaeducation.html

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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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Africa: Higher Education Interrupted

October 27th, 2017

Africa

In the past few months, government crackdowns on students and faculty protests at many African countries have disrupted and temporary halted classes and in some cases led to the indefinite closures of universities affecting thousands of students.

Here’s a look at some of the countries affected:

Cameroon

Cameroon

In the wake of demands by staff and students for greater independence for their English-speaking region, the two main public universities in Anglophone Cameroon, after months of partial closures, have been shut down indefinitely by the country’s president.  For more on the university closures in Anglophone Cameroon, click here

Democratic Republic of Congo

DRC

In August 2017, the teaching staff at the University of Kinshasa voted to continue their strike to express their unhappiness in solidarity with academic staff of several other institutions in the country over non-payment of salaries and the failure of reaching a resolution with the government. For more on this topic, click here

Guinea

Guinea

In June 2017, a number of private universities in Guinea suspended instruction complaining about delays in payment of student grants from the government and the signing of contracts for teaching bachelor-equivalent courses. For more on the suspension of instruction at universities in Guinea, click here.

Kenya

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Students at the University of Nairobi are finding themselves in the crosshairs of politics brought on by the country’s elections and strike by lecturers. As a result, on October 3rd, following a rash of student unrest, the University of Nairobi Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Mbithi announced the indefinite closure of the country’s second largest institution. Earlier, the students had protested against police use of excessive force and sexual harassment at the universities of Nairobi and Maseno.  On October 8th, Mount Kenya University shut its doors due to continued student protests and strikes by professors. For more on the university closures in Kenya, click here.

Rwanda

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Since March 10th, thousands of students have found their studies suspended because of partial or total closure of the private universities which failed to meet satisfactory standards of teaching. According to a report in UniversityWorldNews, 10 universities were given until September 2017 to raise their standards, or risk being closed permanently. An update of their status is not available.  For more on the university closures in Rwanda, click here.

Awareness of these events is key for international credential evaluators and institutions of higher education whose students may be from the countries cited above. These students may not be able to procure their transcripts because of the problems back home. With universities temporarily or indefinitely closed, students from the affected institutions will have a difficult time in requesting official transcripts and those who have been able to obtain their records may show gaps in their studies due to the temporary halt in their studies.

For further information on the world education systems and credential evaluations, visit our website at www.acei-global.org or contact ACEI at acei@acei-global.org

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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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The Importance of Institutional Accreditation

October 12th, 2017

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The first step in evaluating non-U.S. academic documents is to determine whether the institution where the studies were completed is recognized and approved by the education authorities in the country, which in most instances is the Ministry of Education.

In the U.S. there is no central government body that establishes, maintains and sets standards to oversee academic institutions. Instead, there are accrediting groups which themselves have met or exceed recognition standards in order to review and accredit academic institutions. Accreditation as defined by the United States Department of Education is “the process whereby an agency or association grants public recognition to a school, institute, college, university, or specialized program of study which meets certain established qualifications and educational standards, as determined through initial period evaluation. The essential purpose of the accreditation process is to provide a professional judgment as to the quality of the educational institution or programs (s) offered, and to encourage continual improvement thereof.”

There are some institutions that are “unaccredited” but have formal legal authorization to operate and enroll students or issue degrees. But being incorporated as a For-Profit entity or have a business license to operate does not mean that the institution is also accredited by the nationally recognized accreditation bodies. If you’re planning to study at a college or university in the United States, it is important that you first check on the “accreditation” status of the institution.

Why is institutional accreditation important?

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3 reasons why institutional accreditation is important:

  1. helps determine if an institution meets or exceeds minimum standards of quality
  2. helps students determine is an institutional is acceptable for enrollment
  3. assists institutions in determining acceptability of transfer credits.

A student who attends an accredited institution in the U.S. is able to move freely from one accredited institution to another and receive recognition of his/her studies. Before you enroll in a school, institute, college or universities, check on its accreditation status first. One thing you don’t want to happen is graduating from at an unaccredited institution in the U.S. that will not be recognized by employers, the government or other schools, colleges or universities.

The Council for Higher Education Accreditation provides a list of recognized accreditation boards which is available on its website www.chea.org. You’ll be able to check on the accreditation status of a particular school, college or university or access a complete list of accredited institutions of postsecondary education in the United States.

For further information on the world education systems and credential evaluations, visit our website at www.acei-global.org or contact ACEI at acei@acei-global.org

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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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6 Facts about Foreign Credential Evaluations

September 15th, 2017

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We recently heard a report on CNN about foreign medical doctors who are unable to practice in the U.S. and are driving taxis instead. We frequently hear about the plight of legal immigrants in the U.S. who find themselves with little or no information on whether their education from their country of origin is worth anything in their new adopted country. Many simply assume they have to start from the beginning, take the GED, enroll in a college, or apply for and accept employment in jobs below their level of education attainment. Many are not aware that they can have their academic credentials evaluated to receive the approximate U.S. educational equivalence to help them with qualifying for employment, a professional license or admission to a U.S. college/university.

According the U.S. Department of Labor: “Qualifying education from colleges and universities in foreign countries must be evaluated in terms of equivalency to that acquired in U.S. colleges and universities. Applicants educated in whole or in part in foreign countries must submit sufficient evidence, including transcripts, to an accredited private organization for an equivalency evaluation of course work and degree. You must provide a copy of the letter containing the results of the equivalency evaluation upon request. Failure to provide such documentation when requested will result in lost consideration.”

Foreign credential evaluation is a process where academic credentials earned in an institution outside the U.S. is verified and converted into the U.S. educational equivalent. Foreign credential evaluation service providers are typically private for-profit or not-for-profit organizations. Some state licensing boards, U.S. colleges and universities and professional associations also prepare evaluations of foreign credentials for their candidates.

Here are a few facts about foreign credential evaluations:

  1. A foreign credential evaluation provides the approximate U.S. educational equivalence of studies completed at an institution outside the U.S.
  2. A foreign credential evaluation does not guarantee that a level of education completed in a foreign educational system results in the same educational outcome. For example, if an individual completed three years of studies at a university outside the U.S., the U.S. educational equivalence for the studies may or may not be deemed comparable to a degree.
  3. A foreign credential evaluation does not guarantee employment but it will provide the employer with confirmation whether the candidate has met the educational requirements for the position.
  4. A foreign credential evaluation does not imply that the individual is qualified to practice his/her profession. In order to practice a profession such as medicine, nursing, engineering, dentistry, architecture, etc., candidates who have had their foreign credentials evaluated must also sit for the licensing examinations as required by the State in which they intend to practice. However, the evaluation will provide the professional licensing board the information it needs to determine the candidate’s eligibility for licensure.
  5. A foreign credential evaluation does not guarantee automatic admission to a U.S. school/college/university or transfer of credit, as each institution has its own specific admissions and placement policies. It will, however, inform the institution as to the level of studies completed in order to determine eligibility for admission.
  6. A foreign credential evaluation does provide the individual an understanding of his/her education’s comparability to the U.S. system so that he/she can pursue their studies or seek employment in a field in the U.S. that is compatible with their education.

A foreign credential evaluation is similar to currency exchange, where the education completed in one system is converted to the education system of another. So, before an immigrant dismisses the studies they completed in their country of origin, having their academic credentials evaluated will be the first step to take as they begin this chapter of their life in a their new adopted country.

The U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Department of State, provide links to organizations that provide foreign credential evaluation services in the U.S. The NAFSA: Association of International Educators also provides guidelines on how to select a foreign credential evaluation service provider.

Since 1994, ACEI, which is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators, has been providing assistance to individuals from around the world with the evaluation of their educational credentials. For information on our credential evaluation service and requirements, please visit our website at www.acei-global.org or contact ACEI at +1-310-275-3530 or via email at acei@acei-global.org

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Spain: Understanding and Evaluating the Titulo Propio

Titulo de Propio vs. Titulo Oficial

August 31st, 2017

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ACEI will be attending the upcoming the EAIE Conference in Seville to meet and collaborate with global leaders. The 29th Annual EAIE Conference and Exhibition in Seville, Spain will take place from 12–15 September 2017. The theme for the 2017 conference is ‘A mosaic of cultures’, bringing together global leaders to network and discuss issues regarding international trends and world education systems.

In the spirit of the EAIE conference in Spain, we want to explore how to evaluate and recognize the university degree titles of titulos propios and titulos oficiales from Spain. These titles are regarded as two different degrees by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports (Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte)/MEC of Spain inviting a closer look into understanding the differences between them.

This blog provides information on the titulo propios and titulo oficiales to help U.S. admissions officers and credential evaluators differentiate between the two in the evaluation and admissions decision-making process.

These titles are regarded as two different degrees by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports of Spain inviting a closer look into understanding the differences between them.

Historical Background

• In 1983, the Law of University Reform (Ley de Reforma Universitaria/LRU) enabled universities in Spain to offer and award their own degree programs, known as Titulos propios and gave universities greater autonomy in budgetary decision-making and curriculum development. (www.mecd.gob.es/portada-mecd/).
• Under the LRU, universities can continue offering degree programs officially recognized as titulos oficiales by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports (Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte)/MEC.
• The 1983 LRU also allowed for private universities to be established in Spain.
• In the 1983 LRU the MEC specified that universities offering titulos propios degrees must use terminology in the titles that clearly identifies it as a “propio” to avoid any confusion or overlap with official degree titles established and recognized by the government.
• Universities in Spain offer students who wish to complete their studies at the graduate level toward the Master’s degree the choice of either pursuing Máster/Master Oficial de Postgrado or the Máster Titulo Propio.

Definition

Titulo Propio

• The translation of the word “propio” means own, as in mine, and not yours.
• A título propio is a credential awarded on completion of curriculum set by the institution and awarded by the institution.
• The most common título propio qualification is Máster / Master; additional qualifications include Especialista / Specialist, Experto / Expert, Diploma, Técnico / Technician, and Graduado / Graduate.
Título propio programs represent a minimum of 20 credits.
Títulos propios are awarded by the rector of the individual university, rather than by the MEC.

sample
Sample: Titulo Propio Máster awarded by Universidad de León

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Sample: Titulo Propio / Titulo de Máster awarded by Universidad de Alcalá

Titulo Oficial
• The titulo oficial is awarded and recognized by the MEC on completion of prescribed studies at a university in accordance with Ministry-approved curriculum.
• Typically, a titulo official will include on the degree the name of King Felipe VI of Spain, the name of the Rector and identify the degree as such. See samples below:

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Sample: Titulo Oficial awarded by the Universidad Internacional de la Rioja

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Sample: Titulo Oficial Máster awarded by the Universidad Complutense de Madrid

Credits

Titulo Propios

Máster Titulo Propio 50 credits
Experto Universitario 25 credits
Expecialista Universitario 21 credits

Admission Requirements

• According to information on the MEC website, entrance to either the Titulo Propios or Titulo Oficiales programs requires the título de Graduado or título de Arquitecto, Ingeniero, Licenciado, Arquitecto Técnico, Diplomado, Ingeniero Técnico or Maestro from the first cycle of university studies. [Note: Students from the USA must have the Bachelor’s degree and those from Canada must have the Bachelor’s Honours degree for admission.] However, universities offering titulo propio programs are free to set their own admission requirements and can accept students who may not have completed the entire first cycle of university studies.

Purpose and Post-graduation Opportunities

Titulos propios

Titulos propios are not considered part of the formal higher education structure as they do not have academic recognition of the MEC.
Titulos propros do not provide access to government-mandated positions of employment
Titulos propios may be accepted as equal to the official titles for employment purposes in the private sector.

Titulos Oficiales

• Considered part of the formal higher education structure and provide access to doctoral level studies at universities in Spain and within the European Union.
• Accepted for government-mandated positions of employment as well as employment in the private sector.

Evaluation Guidelines

Given that the titulos propios do not have MEC recognition, may have variable admission criteria depending on individual institutional policies, and do not provide access to doctoral degree programs, my advice is to recognize the studies for credit equivalence but not a U.S. Master’s degree. When evaluating these degrees, request the following from the student/candidate: proof of degree from previous studies to help establish the criteria on which the individual was admitted to the titulo propio program and official transcripts from the university showing the courses studied, final grades and most importantly the ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) units for each course. The ECTS will help with determining and awarding transfer credit.

Personal observation: It appears that the titulos propios programs attract international students while Spaniards pursue the titulos oficiales degree programs as the titulos propios do not provide access to doctoral degree programs and are not accepted for employment in the civil service jobs in Spain.

Helpful links:

• Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports http://bit.ly/1AwemOo
• University of Barcelona (offering a definition of the titulos propios and titulos oficiales programs): University of Barcelona: http://bit.ly/1dzYGzn
• Report by three universities in Spain on Titulos Propios versus Titulos Oficiales (issued in Spanish) http://bit.ly/1FdrXFC

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Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert is the President and CEO of the Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute (ACEI).

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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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