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Our Policies

Customer Support

Our customer support team is always happy to answer your questions. Before contacting support, please check our Help section for answers to the most frequently asked questions, including:

If you still have a question, you can speak to representative by starting a live chat, by sending an email to info@foreigncredentials.org, or by calling our toll-free support center at 1 (877) 553-4285.

Our support staff is available Monday through Friday between 8am and 5pm CST.

Please note: FCSA requires that questions about the content of an evaluation, or questions about receiving additional copies, be submitted to our support center in writing. For more information on these areas, please send us an email at info@foreigncredentials.org.


Disclaimer of Universal Acceptance

There is no government agency in the United States (at either the federal or state level) that regulates the practice of comparative educational analysis, and there is likewise no set of universally recognized standards for the conversion of academic credentials from the context of one country’s educational system to that of the U.S. That is not to say that there are no agreed-upon standards at all. Numerous consortia of international education experts and academic administration professionals exist for the very purpose of establishing equivalency standards that are accurate, up-to-date, and fair. FCSA plays an active role in this process, and embraces the standards established by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO). In light of this it should be understood that an academic credentials evaluation is, essentially, an advisory opinion, and has no standing as an “official”, “certified”, or otherwise legally enforceable document. Organizations to which an evaluation has been submitted – public or private, educational or commercial – are entitled to decide for themselves whether or not to abide by the opinions expressed therein. Just as importantly, organizations requesting academic credential evaluations may insist that applicants have their evaluations performed by one or more specific agencies. While FCSA’s evaluations are widely acknowledged throughout the United States, we cannot guarantee that any specific organization will accept our reports. We strongly suggest that any client with questions about whether a given educational agency, licensing board, employer, etc., will accept an FCSA evaluation take the precautionary step of contacting that organization for more information.


Revisions

FCSA maintains a file of each evaluation performed for a period of two years from the date of completion. Clients who wish to request changes to their existing evaluations may do so during this time period at a reduced rate. The process is essentially the same – the client should complete an application form as before, but selecting the option marked Revision at the bottom of the page. He or she should be sure to indicate whether the revised evaluation should be a General Statement of Equivalency or a Detailed Evaluation of Coursework, but disregard the fees listed to the right of these items. Unless an optional fee (rush service, additional copies, etc.) is selected, the client need only pay the Revision Fee of $65. The client should also a) indicate his or her FCSA ID number (or include a copy of the existing evaluation report); b) describe what changes are being requested, and c) provide the requisite documentation (with translations, if necessary) upon which the revision should be based.

Unless the client selects a rush service, a revision follows the same turnaround schedule as a standard evaluation request (approximately two weeks).


Procedure for Review and/or Correction of Evaluation

Integrity is at the very core of our business, and FCSA places a high value on professional ethics. We strive for accuracy in every evaluation we perform, employing years of experience, thorough research, and a commitment not just to staying current with, but participating fully in the development of new and emerging equivalency standards.

Despite all of our best efforts, however, we do make mistakes from time to time, a fact we are fully prepared to admit.  In such instances, FCSA will take whatever steps are necessary to correct the problem and provide the client with revised reports at no additional cost.  Please note that evaluations can only be reviewed and/or revised within two years of the date of original evaluation.

For clients who believe their completed evaluations to contain one or more errors, the procedure is as follows.

  • The client should describe each problem in detail and send their summary in writing to FCSA. Inquiries may be sent via fax (512-459-4565), e-mail (info@foreigncredentials.org), or standard mail delivery (1910 Justin Lane / Austin, TX 78757-2411) and should include the FCSA ID number that appears on the report.
  • Upon receipt by FCSA, complaints will be forwarded to an evaluator – the same evaluator who authored the report, whenever possible.
  • Once the evaluator has had an opportunity to examine the report in question and to conduct any further necessary research, he or she will make the determination as to whether any changes should be made. In those cases when revisions are deemed appropriate, FCSA will, at no additional cost to the client, provide updated official copies of the report. If, upon due consideration, the evaluator elects not to make any changes to the report, he or she will send a full written explanation to the client.
  • Clients who choose to appeal an evaluator’s decision may request a review of their case. As before, the question(s) should be submitted to FCSA in writing, along with any further information that the client feels may support his or her case. Cases under appeal are brought before the FCSA review committee, and all decisions of this committee are regarded as final. As before, if sufficient cause is found to justify making changes to the existing evaluation, FCSA will provide updated official copies to the client at no additional cost. In cases when the committee agrees with the results of the report, the client will be informed of this decision and will receive a full written explanation. Again, decisions of the FCSA review committee are regarded as final.

Evaluations are performed based upon the documentary evidence presented to FCSA along with the application and fee (or received prior to the completion of the evaluation process). While FCSA makes a good faith effort to notify clients when further documentation is needed, it should be emphasized that this is a step we take out of professional courtesy. It is in fact the responsibility of each client to ensure that his or her submission is supported by as complete a set of documentary evidence as possible. Academic credentials provided to FCSA only after the completion of an evaluation may not be used to support correction requests. In order for such materials to be included as part of an evaluation, the client must apply for a revision.


Refund Policy

As a general rule, FCSA will refund client fees only under the following circumstances.

  • The client requests that his or her evaluation be cancelled and that this request be received by FCSA prior to the completion and mailing of the official printed copies. In such cases, FCSA will refund the client’s full fee, minus the $25 processing charge explicitly mentioned on the application form. Individual optional services may be cancelled as well (so long as the same timeframe requirements are met), and the respective amounts paid fully refunded.
  • FCSA guarantees the prompt completion and dispatch of evaluations whose clients have paid for accelerated service. In cases when, for any reason, FCSA is unable to meet the promised deadline, the client’s rush fee will be refunded in its entirety.

Any refund request on the part of the client that falls outside of these parameters will be considered on a case-by-case basis. It must be emphasized that cases which fall under any of the following descriptions are not considered grounds for a refund, nor for any other form of restitution.

  • Disagreement between the client and FCSA regarding the results of an evaluation.
  • The subsequent refusal of any educational institution, prospective employer, etc., to accept an evaluation performed by FCSA.
  • The failure of the client to meet an application deadline due to delays in evaluation processing and/or return.

Reimbursees who have paid via credit card will have the amount of refund credited to the same account. Those who have submitted payment by check or money order will be refunded by means of a company check, which may take two to three weeks processing time prior to mailing.


Certified Translations

When dealing with documents issued in languages other than English, the importance of receiving an accurate and impartial translation cannot be overstated. As a small company, FCSA does not have the resources to perform or to commission translation of documents into English. It is therefore our policy that all documents submitted for evaluation must either be in English or accompanied by a certified word-for-word translation into English. In order to qualify as certified, translations should meet any of the following criteria.

  • English versions of academic documents provided by the issuing educational institution or government agency, showing official letterhead, stamps, seals, signatures, etc.
  • Translations provided by an embassy.
  • Translations provided by a professional agency such as Inlingua.

Exceptions to this rule are made only in the case of documents in Spanish. English translations are still required, but FCSA does not require the translations to be certified.


Return of Academic Documents

Applicants should be aware that materials received by FCSA for use in the evaluation process become the property of FCSA, with the following exceptions:

  • Original educational documents.
  • Attested copies of educational documents that have been certified by the issuing institution or appropriate governmental ministry.

Materials that meet the criteria listed above will be held, forwarded, or released in accordance with the client’s instructions (subject to our standard procedures). If no instructions have been received, FCSA will hold the materials on file for up to two calendar years following the completion of the evaluation report. Likewise, materials belonging to a case that has been placed on “hold” will be maintained for up to two calendar years following the assignment of “hold” status.

All other materials received (including but not limited to copies made by FCSA of the aforementioned documents) become the property of FCSA and cannot typically be forwarded or used for other purposes. (Exceptions to this policy may be made for certain institutional contracts or specific requirements)


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