A few things... 1. In some states there is a limit to how long you can pursue certain debts. 2. Even if you are not legally responsible for paying that debt there is nothing that can ever force the school to release your transcripts. So, even if the state of X says you don't have to pay it because it has been too long, that doesn't compel the school to release the transcripts. Well, the problem is that it doesn't. You can argue that they should have an ethical and moral obligation but, in the words of the Dude; that's just like, your opinion, man. And even if we concede that they have such an obligation that doesn't translate to a legal obligation to do as you suggest. My wife had one of these situations. Her transcripts had been released long enough to get to the licensing boards but shy of her receiving her physical diploma in the mail. Then the conflict and then the chest pounding as she decided to fight the good fight. Her first employer was having none of it. Even though she had her provisional license in hand and it was very clear to them that she graduated they made it very clear that if she didn't get a physical copy of her diploma soon then the new job was going bye-bye. Not because the physical diploma means more than the transcripts but because that particular employer wanted his therapists to all have a well appointed Masters degree framed and on the wall of the office where they would be seeing clients. She could have argued against that as well. In the end she put her big girl pants on, paid the debt, got the diploma, and moved on with her life. Her's, incidentally, was $1,200. So it was a huge blow to both her pride and her credit card to accept defeat. But it wasn't worth the hassle. For myself, I learned of a parking violation at Scranton some time after I was in the Navy. It was a $40 ticket and I would have also been prevented from sending out transcripts as well. I went to the campus police office during my first leave post-RTC. There, in an incredibly respectful and contrite manner, I accepted responsibility while wearing my brand spankin' new uniform, and told them I wanted to resolve it. They waived the fee. Life went on. I get that you don't think this should cause your transcripts to be "held hostage." You've made that clear. The thing you need to realize is that: 1. Your opinion doesn't matter. At all. It is completely and utterly irrelevant outside of your own mind. 2. You boycotting this fee has more potential to harm you in the long term than the university. 3. Many people have sued their school over the "moral and ethical" obligation to release transcripts once tuition was paid. They are also routinely held for disciplinary reasons. I read of a case where a Cornell grad had his transcripts and diploma held for three years post-graduation as a result of a disciplinary hearing (i.e. they "sentenced" him to not getting transcripts or a physical diploma for three years post-graduation for a disciplinary infraction). He sued and lost. If you sue you'll probably lose. This battle has been fought many times. Learn from Napoleon, young Adolf.