My mother has a four-year college degree. I know, because I helped her to get it. Actually, she did all of the hard work, I just proofread a couple of letters. The problem is, apparently a waiver for a class or two got misplaced, and another class she should have had her freshman year was no longer available when her schedule allowed. In any case, she believed she had graduated, and even received a diploma, but the diploma was now missing after 40+ years, so she had no proof. To top it off, the college had changed names and moved to another city, and old records hadn't been computerized. Well, we wrote back and forth with the college, and eventually they did accept her record plus some courses she had taken since, and awarded her an official degree.
My paternal grandmother (Alta May (Day) Dillman) who was born in 1910 actually had the benefit of a full high school education. Many kids at that time were only in school through about 8th grade.