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New Service will help Local Residents with Credentials from Other Countries

Submitted by on July 1, 2016 – 4:59 pm

Dr. Noemi Custodia-Lora, director of NECC’s Lawrence Campus and community relations

More than 50 local residents from a host of countries attended an educational credentialing event at Northern Essex Community College Lawrence Campus on Monday, June 20.

Most who attended were interested in having their degrees from foreign institutions, both high schools and colleges, evaluated, according to Dr. Noemi Custodia-Lora, director of NECC’s Lawrence Campus and community relations.  “Central and South American countries were well represented as well as Thailand and Vietnam,” she said.

At the event, 19 people submitted applications which will be reviewed by representatives from the Center for Education Documentation (CED) of Boston, which provides professional assistance in interpreting the educational background of persons educated abroad.

The CED will evaluate the submitted documents, including high school diplomas, college degrees, and transcripts, and provide a report within two to three weeks.  Individuals will then be prepared to pursue further education and/or credentialing in the U.S.

The June 20 event launched a new partnership between Northern Essex and the CED.  Local residents can now submit their credentials for evaluation by the CED at the Welcome Express Center in Lawrence located in the El Hefni Allied Health & Technology Center, 414 Common St or in Haverhill at the Behrakis One Stop Student Center, 100 Elliott St.  Credentials can be submitted Wednesdays from 4 to 5:30 p.m. and Fridays from 9 to 11 a.m. Once submitted, credentials will be evaluated and returned electronically within two weeks.  General evaluations are $80 and a course by course evaluation is $130.

Dr. Custodia-Lora was surprised by how many of those attending had degrees in accounting or engineering from a foreign institution.  “Many of the validation requests were for these two high-demand professions,” she said. “Our goal is to help local residents with degrees in these fields and others to pursue professional careers, and the first step is often to evaluate their past educational experience.”

This partnership is offered through PIÉS Latinos de NECC which was created to increase higher education attainment among Latino immigrants living in Greater Lawrence.  PIÉS will focus on helping immigrants validate and transfer foreign credits to NECC and other colleges in Massachusetts and validate their foreign degrees with job training.  PIÉS will also provide support for Latinos outside the U.S. interested in attending college in the U.S.

The Center for Educational Documentation provides professional assistance in interpreting the educational background of persons educated abroad.  Advisory statements on educational equivalency are prepared on request for colleges and universities, professional associations, government agencies, and public school systems.

For more information and application forms, please contact Analuz Garcia at 978 738-7423,, or Hilce Cassanelli at 978 738-7402,

With campuses in Haverhill and Lawrence, Northern Essex Community College offers over 70 associate degree and certificate programs as well as hundreds of noncredit courses designed for personal enrichment and career growth.  More than 6,600 students are enrolled in credit associate degree and certificate programs on the Haverhill and Lawrence campuses; and another 3,400 take noncredit workforce development and community education classes on campus, and at businesses and community sites across the Merrimack Valley.  Northern Essex is the only state college located in the lower Merrimack Valley Region of Massachusetts. For more information, visit the website at