For credential evaluation of Indian higher education diplomas, we need 2 things:

Recognition of the institution

The University Grants Commission (UGC) sets certain quality standards for higher education. If an institution satisfies these standards, the UGC recognises the institution. The UGC website provides various overviews of recognised institutions:

Accreditation of the institution and study programme

You can check whether a study programme is accredited on the website of an accreditation organisation. The UGC decided that from 2013, accreditation for all higher education institutions is mandatory. Accreditation organisations approved by the Government of India are:

  • All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE)
  • Distance Education Bureau (DEB)
  • Professional councils
  • National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC)

All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE)

Institutions offering technical study programmes must be accredited by the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE). An overview of accredited institutions is available on the AICTE website.

Many Institutes of National Importance fall under the AICTE. In this description, all Institutes of National Importance are referred to as top institutions, as are the institutions with the highest NAAC accreditation level.

Distance Education Bureau (DEB)

Distance-learning study programmes must be accredited by the Distance Education Bureau (DEB). Sometimes an institution may only offer certain study programmes via distance learning. It is also possible that an institution may offer all study programmes via distance learning. The accreditation always has a limited period of validity.  

The DEB website provides an overview of accredited study programmes per institution.

Professional councils

Professional councils are bodies that are affiliated with the UGC. Among other things, they determine which institutions may offer study programmes for regulated professions and certain education sectors. The aforementioned AICTE and DEB are examples of professional councils.

An overview of all professional councils can be found on the UGC website. An overview of recognised institutions and/or recognised study programmes can always be found on the websites of the professional councils.

National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC)

Do you need the credential evaluation of a diploma from a study programme that does not fall under AICTE, DEB or a professional council? In that case the institution must be accredited by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC).

The NAAC website contains a database where you can look up the accreditation status of a particular institution. Other information that can be found in the database includes:

  • the effective date of the accreditation;
  • the level of the accreditation.

Effective date of the accreditation

The NAAC accreditation is valid for 5 years. Based on the effective date, you can therefore determine whether the accreditation is still valid. 

The level of the accreditation

The NAAC not only indicates whether an institution is accredited, but also at what level. The level of education of institutions with the highest accreditation level is higher than that of institutions with a lower accreditation level. In this description, we refer to institutions with the highest NAAC accreditation level as a top institution.

Checking the NAAC accreditation level

In recent years, the NAAC has modified its assessment system multiple times. Therefore, a particular accreditation level may have been the highest in one year, but not in another. This information cannot be checked in the database, as it only states the current accreditation levels. To check which level an institution had previously, follow these steps:

  • Go to the NAAC website.
  • Find the institution (enter the name).
  • Check the graduation date on the diploma.
  • Check the NAAC accreditation level of the institution on the date of graduation.
  • Check the starting date (EC date) of that specific NAAC accreditation level.
  • Check in the table below whether this was the highest NAAC accreditation level on the EC date. If so, the institution was a top institution on the graduation date.
NAAC accreditation level
EC date August 2001 - March 2002 April 2002 - March 2007 April 2007 - June 2016 July 2016 - Present
Highest accreditation level A+++++ or 5 A++ A A++

Situation before 2013

Do you need the credential evaluation of a diploma that was awarded before 2013? Then you go through the same steps as 'Checking the NAAC accreditation level' (see above). There is 1 exception: you only need to check the NAAC accreditation to determine whether you are dealing with a top institution or not. Unlike now, before 2013 accreditation by the NAAC was not mandatory for education not covered by AICTE, DEB or the professional councils.