Are Replacement Diplomas Illegal? Your Guide to Using Novelty Diplomas

Remember your friend who went to Yale but missed graduating because they didn’t pass a class in their last semester? The last time you visited, you noticed a Yale diploma hanging on the wall. Were you surprised and maybe even a little miffed?

Before you get too emotional, consider how excited you were to hang your diploma for the world to see. Naturally, whether someone graduates from Yale or a local community college, they want to display their degree in a prominent location.

Perhaps your friend finished school and didn’t tell you, or maybe they bought a fake university diploma.

You say, “That’s not legal!”

We say, “There’s a difference between making a fake diploma and using it in the wrong way.”

Read on and explore novelty diplomas. We’ll talk about when they’re legal and when they’re not. We’ll also give you some fantastic ideas about how to use them.

Diplomas and the Law

Each state follows specific guidelines regarding fake diplomas. Some states have stricter laws than others, which creates a gray area if you’re concerned about breaking the law.

Is anything clear about fake diplomas?

With one caveat, producing fake diplomas is not illegal, and neither is having one in your possession. The caveat? If the diploma isn’t a forgery of a real diploma or certificate issued by a school or university, it’s perfectly legal.

As you’ll see next, it isn’t so much about the production of a novelty diploma that gets a person in trouble. It’s how they use it!

Is it Illegal to Use a Fake University Diploma?

Now that we’ve cleared up the legality of printing novelty diplomas, we do want to clarify what you can’t do with them.

Most job applications require the applicant to answer questions about their education. Depending on the position, your future employer wants to know whether you finished high school. If the job requires a college degree, they’ll ask for the graduation date and, sometimes, your grade point average (GPA).

Employers do sometimes ask to see a paper diploma, especially if you can’t quickly put your hands on college transcripts.

Maybe you lost your diploma, or perhaps you never graduated. In one of these scenarios, a fake diploma makes sense. Print up a novelty diploma, show it to your new boss, and then figure out how you can obtain your official transcripts.

Using a fake diploma to get a job when you didn’t receive the credentials is unethical. It’s also fraudulent, and if the employer catches you, they could legally prosecute you. We’ll discuss legal consequences next.

Consequences of Making a Fake Diploma

While we’re not legal professionals, we do know using novelty diplomas to get jobs or use services if you’re not truly qualified to do so can create severe legal problems.

The good news is, in most cases, employers and other concerned parties will do their due diligence. That means they’ll discover your plot before it gets you in too much trouble.

If you’re discovered before you start a job, you and your future employer can bow out gracefully. Discovery after the fact may only result in losing your position. However, if you’re not qualified for a job and you use false credentials to get hired, it’s a problem.

Another area where you’ll run into trouble is when you use a fake diploma to qualify for discounts, goods, or other services.

In both cases mentioned here, you could face criminal prosecution. You could also face public shaming like a recent candidate for the House of Representatives in Florida. 

Since you’re not looking to deceive anyone with a novelty diploma, check out what you can do with one without worrying about whether it’s legal or not.

Are There Any Legal Uses for Fake Diplomas?

We can think of multiple ways you can use a novelty diploma, and none of them will draw you into any legal problems. Let’s start with the more practical ways people use fake diplomas.

Earlier, we mentioned a situation where a person lost a diploma. Most schools can replace a lost diploma, but it costs time and money. Even ordering official transcripts, a suitable substitute for a diploma, usually takes a few dollars and some time.

You could order a set of novelty diplomas printed with the name of your alma mater so that you have a document to give an employer or anyone else who needs it. There’s no harm done, and it buys you time to order an official document.

Even if you can’t access the real deal, with the use of technology and, of course, the telephone, a savvy person could verify where you graduated from and when.

No moral compromise and you get the job, the raise, or whatever it is that you’re pursuing with your diploma.

Make Buying a Fake Diploma Fun

We can’t talk about novelty diplomas without mentioning a less serious way you can use them. Many people buy fake diplomas for nothing more than fun. They use them as a gag!

Imagine the laughs if you hung a diploma on your wall from a prestigious university, but your friends all know how you feel about putting on airs. Okay, so maybe they won’t roll on the floor laughing, but it makes for fun conversation.

Look at this not so funny but fun way to use your novelty diploma!

If you admire a particular university but never attended, you can still own a piece of nostalgia. Get a fake diploma. Create a collage with the diploma, the school pennant, and a photo of you on campus. 

Ready to Order?

Now that you know buying a fake university diploma isn’t illegal provided you use it ethically, why not take the next step? If you need a diploma to replace the one you’ve lost, serve as temporary proof of graduation, or to spoof your friends, you’re in the right place.

We offer an array of beautifully crafted high school and university diplomas. If you need a quote first or want a sample, we can handle it!

Ready to order? Use our secure online ordering system, and you’ll have your diploma in-hand before you can play Pomp and Circumstance!