NY bans colleges from withholding transcripts over student debt

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by chrisjm18, May 5, 2022.

  1. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    This varies widely. Some want official transcripts, some will accept unofficial transcripts, some want copies of diplomas. Most don't want anything at all.
  2. nomaduser

    nomaduser Active Member

    My recommendation for US universities is to build a new finance web system that will never allow any debts.

    All payments should be made BEFORE students can proceed.
    All scholarships should be awarded ONLY when students sign a contract paper or verify intention of staying at the university until graduation.
  3. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure when you've last been in school or received financial aid, but there's so many certifications, student loan counseling, sign-offs, etc., required throughout the process. It seems a bit over-kill to me. Again, the situation you're imagining where someone hits the wrong button and incurs a $10,000 fine is not happening. People are failing courses or otherwise not holding up their end of the student aid bargain and losing the financial aid money that was to pay for those courses. They agree to do that before they receive the money.
  4. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

    If a student doesn't have the money to pay, say, a $50,000 debt (or even less for that matter), withholding a $5-$20 transcript isn't going to change that, plus the fact that many (Most? All?) schools charge for transcripts anyway, I say, if it can be paid for why not allow the person to pay for it and get it? If anything--and certainly considering the very real and very serious economic issues many people are facing now--withholding transcripts may only contribute to their economic issues.

    Let's say that person is trying to get a job or a better job and that transcript somehow becomes a necessity to getting the job which can help to pay the debt. Well, since the transcript is being withheld, no job, and the cycle continues.

    Full disclosure: I was in that situation many years ago. Times were tough, I was broke and struggling to keep a roof over my head, I just couldn't pay my school debt at the time and accomplish that and by the time a good job came along, it was already in collections and at the rope-end where they want either the whole amount or a settled amount which is usually still pretty high and it was in this case. Thankfully, I was able to get the debt paid just in the nick of time during the hiring process but only because of two angels who stepped up to help. If they hadn't, I wouldn't have had the required proof of my credentials and I would've lost out on a good job I really needed. Without that job, considering the springboard it became for me, the entire course of my life would've gone very differently and the look of it at the time was pretty dark and far from what it is today.

    Not every situation matches mine, there are people who just don't want to pay, but I have doubts that I'm alone in having the experience I described.
    SteveFoerster likes this.
  5. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    You're not. I've known other students in the same boat.
    LearningAddict likes this.
  6. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Because you're not paying for the copy of the transcript. You're paying for the education and the credential that goes with it.

    If you left a car to be repaired and didn't pay for the repairs, you wouldn't get your car back. Or a laptop being repaired. Or something.
    JBjunior likes this.
  7. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

    When paying tuition certainly you are doing that. I know that in a to-the-letter sense, a transcript is a credential it's just not the credential in terms of how it's generally viewed. I think it's commonly viewed that the title/degree/certificate is the credential and the transcript (when issued in the properly secure fashion) is a higher level of proof of the credential. When you're still a student and taking classes you pay a fee for the transcript document when needed and they give it to you. When you're not a student you pay a fee for the transcript document when needed and they give it to you as long as you're not in any financial trouble with them. But when a financial issue with the school comes up, now you can't get the transcript even if you're willing to pay. Oof.

    Perhaps employment could be an exception for schools to consider while continuing to refuse issue of transcripts to other schools. After all, alluding to my earlier point, if it stops a person from getting the job, that negatively affects both the person and the school the person owes the debt to.
    Rachel83az likes this.
  8. nomaduser

    nomaduser Active Member

    Do you guys think Massachusetts and Pennsylvania will join this movement?
  9. Alpine

    Alpine Active Member

    Legislative “movements” like this are grassroots. Email your State Legislator and explain the reason for such a bill and how it will help you and others. They may sponsor the State bill if they feel it is appropriate and beneficial for their constituents. On the other hand, if you don’t like the bill email your Legislators and tell them why!
    Last edited: May 9, 2022
  10. Asymptote

    Asymptote Active Member

    Take the money. Invest it somewhere else. Maybe, maybe you'll get lucky and it'll be used productively. And if it is, you'll create new jobs and provide a service for the economy and, God forbid, even make a few bucks for yourselves. And if anybody asks, tell 'em ya gave at the plant.
  11. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    Something to keep in mind is that some of these similar scenarios are not perfect comparisons.

    If I refuse to pay my mechanic, my mechanic cannot actually just refuse to keep my car unless the amount owed is pretty close to the value of my car. Otherwise, the mechanic's recourse is a lien so that if I sell the car the mechanic gets part of the sale proceeds. A mechanic cannot refuse to give me back my 2019 Forester because I owe him $200. The value of the item being held well exceeds the amount owed.

    Same with a PC. If I owe Best Buy $50 they can't just decide that they now own a $2,000 gaming PC.

    Transcripts, as noted, are not what tuition pays for. In fact, you pay a separate fee for transcripts to be sent. And those transcripts sent for that fee are sent no matter what they contain. A $10 transcript fee is the fee whether you took, and failed, one class or whether you completed multiple degrees at that institution. The transcript is exactly that; it is a transcript of the courses completed at that institution, the grades and other information such as the program, if any, you were enrolled in and if a degree was awarded. For this document you pay a flat fee upon request.

    So the idea that a college can refuse to validate that information because I owe, say, a few hundred dollars in parking tickets is, to me, pretty ridiculous (for reference, when I was a freshman, a parking ticket at the University of Scranton generally ran $100).

    This is akin to that mechanic trying to steal my $18,000 car because I owe $60 for an oil change and an inspection.

    Refusing to return property, liens etc should be proportionate to the debt owed. To make it to where I cannot continue my education or, potentially, get a job because of parking tickets, a tuition balance owed or anything like this feels like colleges desperately trying to maintain this means of control that I, and apparently many others, are very uncomfortable with them having.

    FWIW, I also disagree that colleges should be able to refuse to issue transcripts for disciplinary reasons. Again, the transcript is not an endorsement of me as a human being. It's a record of the courses I took and the grades received. Caught me cheating? Well, OK, I can get behind refusing the transcript. The crime is directly related to the information in those transcripts. But you got busted for underage drinking and the college is now refusing to issue you transcripts for one year? I'm sorry, I'm not on board with that sort of thing.

    I get it. Private institutions can conduct their business yada yada yada. However, any school that is accepting federal and/or state funds for tuition assistance should be required to operate with more transparency and not swerve out of their lane. And part of that swerve is aiming to punish or penalize former students once they have left.

    If they really must, I'd think a transcript notation would be just as effective of a deterrent. What incoming school will want you if your former transcripts all note that you owe substantial student debt? I can imagine many employers raising an unfavorable eye to the same notation. At the same time, it doesn't directly prevent someone from getting employed or continuing their education.
    Dustin likes this.
  12. JBjunior

    JBjunior Active Member

    Obviously these things may differ state to state but when you have a garage fix your car you enter into a contract with them and they can withhold returning the car until debt is paid. The lien option ensures that if the car is left on their site due to non-payment, for a certain duration, they can take title possession of the car and dispose of it as they wish usually because of the tacked on storage fees for the time it is on their site.

    https://www.theaa.com/driving-advice/legal/car-repairs is one site that discusses it.
  13. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    I'm so glad you were able to read past the point of my post to focus on the minutiae of my metaphor.
  14. Maxwell_Smart

    Maxwell_Smart Active Member

    Although I don't care for refusal either, it does help to stop people from running up a debt at one school, not paying it, and then using that transcript to go somewhere else and do it again, and we know a lot of people would if they could, lol. Anyway, employment purposes should definitely not draw refusal.

    I do kinda like your notation idea. Only thing I would worry about is how it would be taken by a company looking to hire you that wants that next level of proof. They may get the transcript, take the note as a red flag, and drop you from consideration. I've had a number of jobs where I had to get a transcript sent. Most companies just took my diplomas which was of course less of a hassle and free, but I actually did respect the companies more that wanted a mailed transcript because it told me they were hip to people submitting fake degrees and weren't putting up with that shenanigan. Now, I would be understanding in the situation and not see the transcript note as a red flag, but I wouldn't bet on everyone else seeing it the same way. Lots of pay-your-debt-or-starve types of people out there.
  15. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    I treasure my actual diploma parchments - at least for my Bachelor's and Master's degrees, but I know a lot of people who threw theirs out. Being asked for the parchment would be a hassle compared to a simple email request for a transcript that I can do from anywhere in the world.
  16. Maxwell_Smart

    Maxwell_Smart Active Member

    It was a hassle the first time, so I made sure to take scans and photos and started issuing those instead. 2 places still wanted to see the physical copy though. I guess the biggest hassle for me is paying for the transcript. I don't like paying for it after all I've spent on tuition dammit, haha.
  17. JBjunior

    JBjunior Active Member

    I haven’t had a reason to use it yet but my latest degree gave the option to use the CeCredential Trust service which provides a digitally signed diploma which may be of more use than sending a copy of a diploma. You pay once instead of each time for requesters that don’t really need to see a transcript and they get the verification that it is a legitimate diploma directly from the school’s website using the digitally signed document code. I am sure there are other companies doing similar work.
  18. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    Quantic does similar. You can see my MBA here: https://www.parchment.com/u/award/fc1af9faf1259f82364dc629b35aedc4

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