Frequently Asked Questions | Foreign Credentials Service of America

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Frequently Asked Questions

Basics

Where Are FCSA evaluations recognized?

FCSA performs thousands of evaluations every year for people from all over the world. FCSA evaluations are accepted by INS, the Texas State Board of Education, Motorola, Dell, colleges and universities throughout the country, immigration attorneys, and the Texas State Board of Professional Engineering, among others. FCSA’s director, Dr. William Paver, has extensive professional experience in the field of credentials evaluation. A leader in international admissions, Dr. Paver was responsible for developing the international admissions office at the University of Texas at Austin into one of the preeminent offices of its kind in the country.

It must be emphasized, however, that no Academic Credential Evaluation, no matter its source, will be universally acknowledged. Educational institutions, licensing boards, government agencies, private corporations, etc., are fully entitled to establish their own respective policies in this regard, and many will select a handful of agencies whose reports they will readily accept. FCSA always recommends that clients double-check with the receiving institution in advance to ensure our evaluations will be accepted.

What are the application procedures?

Clients may download an application form from our website, or we will be happy to send a copy by e-mail, fax, or regular mail. The completed application, along with the academic documents you want to have evaluated and the required fees should be submitted to FCSA. If any part of this process is not completed we cannot start your evaluation.

Important: All applications received after 2:00 PM CST will be considered to have been received the following business day. 

 

What should I do if I need a foreign evaluation for my engineering license application?

FCSA has been approved to provide foreign evaluations for several state boards of engineering including: Texas, Georgia, Louisiana and North Dakota (NOTE: this list is subject to change from time to time).   FCSA always recommends that clients double-check with the receiving state board in advance to ensure our evaluations will be accepted and to ensure that all of the board’s requirements are met

Can I drop in at the FCSA offices?

You may visit our offices at 1910 Justin Lane in Austin, Texas any time during our working hours, Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. No appointment is necessary. Our customer service staff will be happy to assist you with the application process or to answer general questions.

Here’s a map to our Austin office.

Do you evaluate work experience?

At this time, FCSA evaluates academic credentials only.

Will FCSA confirm receipt of my evaluation request?

If a legible e-mail address is provided on your application form we will send you an e-mail once your information has been entered into our system. If, after examining your application, we find that there are missing documents, we will send you a postcard or email listing any missing documentation that we may need to complete your evaluation.

What if I’m not sure what type of report to request?

Our application system is designed to show you exactly which application to use. We also always recommend that you check with the university, licensing board or employer using the evaluation to see if they have any specific requirements. As always, our staff is available for any further questions you may have.

How long does the evaluation take?

An evaluation is normally ready to be mailed approximately two weeks after the date when all necessary documents have been received. Please note that our standard time-frame is an estimate and is not guaranteed.

Do you have a faster service?

FCSA offers the following timeframe options:

Standard (Approximately 10 working days) No additional fee
Rush Service (3 working days) Base fee + $75 (US)
Next Day Service (General Evaluation) Base fee + $175 (US)
Next Day Service (Detailed and/or ABET Evaluation) Base fee + $210 (US)

The standard time-frame of approximately two weeks is an estimate and may vary. Expedited requests, on the other hand, are guaranteed to be completed and ready for mailing/pickup within the designated time-frame.

What should I do if I need a foreign evaluation for my teacher certification license application?

FCSA has been approved to provide foreign evaluations for a number of state boards for teacher certification. Click here to get detailed instructions on how to submit an FCSA application that will meet board requirements.

Costs

Do I need to pre-pay?

Payment must be included with the application and documents. An evaluation will not be started until our office receives the appropriate fees. Payment can be made by personal US check, US money order, US cashier’s check, or credit card. We accept MasterCard, VISA, and American Express.

What does an evaluation cost?

Our evaluations are very competitively priced. Please see our application forms for more information on cost. As we offer a wide variety of services, the associated fees may also vary.

What if I decide to cancel the evaluation?

 

Contact us in writing (by mail, fax, or email) to request to cancel your evaluation, you can be refunded all but a $25.00 processing fee. Please note that your cancellation request must be received before your evaluation has been completed.

Documentation

Do I need to send official documents?

In most cases, FCSA can accept photocopies, faxes, or scanned versions of your official documents. Copies submitted must be clearly legible, showing the entirety of each page (including the reverse side if not blank). At the end of the FCSA application, you will be asked to read and sign a statement verifying that the documents you have submitted are true copies of the documents.

*Exception:  In some cases we need to receive official documents in specific formats. If this is the case we make every effort to specify so on the application form.

Will FCSA return my documentation?

If requested, FCSA can usually return original or certified documents after the evaluation is completed. We do not return photocopies or documents notarized in the US.

Do you need all my school records (from elementary to university)?

Generally, we need your records beginning from your secondary or upper secondary studies, particularly when applying as an undergraduate to a US institution. When seeking licensure, graduate admissions, or H-1 status, post secondary records are sufficient.

A detailed evaluation of high school coursework is not included in the standard evaluation, but is available on request for an additional fee of $140 per application.

Should I include my diploma with my records?

Yes. If you have completed a course of study, please include a certified copy (both sides) of the diploma or degree.

Do I need to send a syllabus of my coursework?

In most cases, a transcript (or set of mark sheets), listing course titles and grades, is sufficient.

Exceptions:

  • If you are applying for board licensure you may need to submit a syllabus (detailed course descriptions) from the year of your graduation. 

What is a transcript?

A transcript is a document issued by secondary schools, colleges, and universities listing the name of the school, student’s name, years of attendance, courses studied, and credits and grades received. The transcript may also list degrees completed. Often a transcript has a legend on the back that explains the grading scale and abbreviations.

What grading scale does FCSA use?

FCSA converts all international grading systems to the 4 point scale commonly used in the US.

What is a semester hour?

In the US, approximately 40 hours of required study generally translates to one semester hour. A year of full time study in the US generally results in 30-36 semester hours of credit. Therefore, one year of full time study at an international school would be assessed as 30-36 hours of transfer credit.

Do you do translations?

No, we do not perform language translations. We require certified word-for-word English Translations for all non-English academic credentials submitted. Certified translations must be performed by a qualified disinterested third party, typically a professional translation company, university or government agency.

 Exception: If your documents are in Spanish you may provide your own translation or submit one performed by a friend or family member.

When translations are required, FCSA recommends the services of InLingua.

What should I do if I have courses in progress?

When you complete the courses, send us an updated transcript. If you wish to add this information within the first six months after your initial evaluation, a $65 revision fee will be charged for the update. If two years have passed since your initial evaluation, you will be charged the full evaluation fee.

Does FCSA verify documents for authenticity?

FCSA always reserves the right to verify documents for authenticity.

If falsified documents are submitted to FCSA, there will be no refund of payments or return of documents, and the forgery will be reported to the designated recipients of the report as well as academic institutions, evaluation services, and government agencies.

Evaluations

What information is in a General Statement of Equivalency?

  • Institutions attended (non-US only).
  • Dates of attendance.
  • Credentials earned and date awarded.
  • United States equivalence.

What information is in the Detailed Evaluation of Coursework?

  • Institutions attended (non-US only).
  • Dates of attendance.
  • Credentials earned and date awarded.
  • United States equivalence.
  • Courses taken.
  • Equivalent semester hours and US grade equivalence.
  • Overall equivalent US grade point average (US GPA).
  • Upper division and graduate GPA can be specified.

Will my report include a detailed evaluation of high school coursework?

A detailed evaluation of high school coursework is not included in the standard evaluation, but is available on request for an additional fee of $140 per application.

What is an ABET Evaluation?

The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) is an organization that evaluates higher educational programs in the fields of applied science, computing, engineering, and technology. In the interests of promoting quantifiable standards, ABET has compiled sets of profiles for various engineering specialties. These profiles specify how many credit hours of study a candidate must have completed in each of several predefined academic categories in order to meet the minimum standards for their respective disciplines. In other words, to qualify as a civil engineer (versus, say, a mechanical or computer engineer) one must have completed x hours of coursework in mathematics, y hours of coursework in engineering design, and z hours of coursework in humanities. Candidates in need of an ABET Evaluation must also request a Detailed Evaluation of Coursework.

What if I have questions about my evaluation after it is prepared?

We’re happy to answer any questions about your evaluation. For general questions, please feel free to get in touch with our support team by phone, email or live support online.

Phone:  1 (877) 553-4285
Email:  info@foreigncredentials.org

Our support team is available Monday through Friday, 8am – 5pm CST

Questions about the specific content of your evaluation, however, must be submitted in writing by mail or email.

1910 Justin Lane
Austin, Texas 78757-2411

 

What if I don’t list all my education and decide at a later date that I want it added to my report?

If you wish to add information within the first two years after your initial evaluation, a $65 revision fee will be charged for the update. If two years have passed since your initial evaluation, you will be charged the full evaluation fee.

Can FCSA send my evaluation directly to a school or employer?

Yes. In section 1 of the application, you are asked to fill in the address or addresses where you would like your evaluations to be mailed. Additional official copies of your evaluation can also be requested.

Can I get copies of my evaluation after the initial mailing?

FCSA keeps your records on file in our office for exactly two (2) years from the date at the top of your evaluation. For example, if your evaluation date was January 1, 2012, your evaluation will be on file at FCSA until January 1, 2014. Until that time, FCSA guarantees that additional copies of your evaluation will be available for purchase.  While copies are typically available after this date we cannot guarantee their availability. Copies, if available, cost $25 each. Please visit the existing clients section of our website for more information.

How long will FCSA keep my incomplete application?

If you submit an application and do not complete it, FCSA will keep your documents on file for 2 years from the date of application. After 2 years, you will need to submit a new application.

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