Graduation Cap and Diploma

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

A candidate running for a State House seat in Florida who claimed to have a college degree appears to have allegedly faked her diploma after the university from which she supposedly received her education confirmed that she never finished school, according to an exclusive report from Florida News Online.

Florida News Online exclusively reports that “Republican State House candidate Melissa Howard didn’t have the college degree from Miami University in Ohio that she claimed to have earned.” Howard did attend the school but there is no record of her earning a degree, the university confirmed.

After Florida News Online first reported discrepancies in Howard’s education credentials, the candidate called the story a lie and flew to her home state of Ohio to produce the degree. She then posted a picture of a diploma on her Facebook page as proof that she had earned a Bachelor of Science in Marketing.

Florida News Online then asked the National Student Clearinghouse – a non-profit organization that helps verify academic degrees of students – to re-confirm the status of Howard’s degree with the university. The National Student Clearinghouse sent a certificate stating no degree was earned.

Howard – who is running in House District 73 – has since apologized for claiming she had a college degree that she did not complete, but said she will stay in the race and intends “to win and lead by example from now on,” according to a report from CBS News. On August 14, 2018, Howard suspended her campaign.

People claiming to hold degrees they did not earn is not so unusual. In June 2018, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Samsonite, the world’s largest travel luggage company, resigned from his position after a report accused him of résumé fraud for claiming to have earned a PhD in Business Administration.

Résumé fraud is common. A survey released in August 2017 found 46 percent of hiring managers knew applicants who included false information on a resume, a sharp rise from only 21 percent in 2011. More than one-third – 38 percent – said they removed an applicant from consideration after discovering résumé fraud.

Verifying past education and employment credentials is critical. Unfortunately, falsifying or inflating employment and educational accomplishments is a significant problem for employers since it is easy for job applicants to obtain worthless degrees from “diploma mills” and fake job histories from websites.

“A diploma mill creates a danger to employers since educational achievements tell a great deal about a job applicant’s ability, qualifications, and motivation,” explains Attorney Lester Rosen, founder and CEO of Employment Screening Resources® (ESR), a global background check firm located in California.

To combat diploma mills in the U.S., the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) offers a Database of Institutions and Programs Accredited by Recognized United States Accrediting Organizations while the U.S. Department of Education (ED) offers a Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs.

Use Education Verifications from ESR to Confirm a Diploma

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a leading global background check firm – offers education verifications for high school diplomas, GED certificates, four-year college/university degrees, and master’s and doctorate degrees. To learn more, visit www.esrcheck.com/Background-Checks/Verifications-References/.

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.

© 2018 Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – Making copies or using of any part of the ESR News Blog or ESR website for any purpose other than your own personal use is prohibited unless written authorization is first obtained from ESR.


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