Skip to Main Content

tag: Stranded credits

Blog Post
August 15, 2022

Stranded Credits: State-Level Actions and Opportunities

Over the past several years, state and federal regulators have increasingly scrutinized the practice of transcript withholding, or disallowing student access to transcripts or diplomas if they owe a past due balance to the institution. As of June 15, 2022, five states have pending bills and eight states have enacted bills that prohibit postsecondary institutions from withholding transcripts. Without transcript holds, students will be able to re-enroll in college, transfer to an institution that better fits their needs, apply…
Blog Post
August 2, 2022

New Opportunity for Stopped-Out College Students in Northeast Ohio to Settle Debt and Access Stranded Credits

Ohio College Comeback Compact Launches Summer 2022

Thousands of college students in Northeast Ohio who left school without a degree and owe money to their former college now have a pathway back to settle the debt and continue their education. Beginning this month, the Ohio College Comeback Compact is contacting approximately 15,000 students with a new proposition: come back to any public college in the region, even if you owe money and your transcript is being held because of it. Eligible students who…
Issue Brief
July 7, 2022

Lost and Found: State and Institutional Actions to Resolve Stranded Credits

This brief provides a roadmap for stakeholders interested in the underlying practices that create stranded credits and what can be done to improve them. To begin, we provide specific definitions of the terms and practices implicated in the creation of stranded credits. While researchers and policy leaders have increased their attention on the problem of stranded credits, this brief lays out in detail how they are created, why they matter, and what can be done to better balance the interests…
Past Event
June 14, 2022

Webinar: Solving Stranded Credits and Institutional Debt

The Washington Student Achievement Council

On Tuesday, June 14, from 1:00 – 2:00 PDT, Martin Kurzweil will present on “Solving Standard Credits and Institutional Debt” during a webinar for the Washington Student Achievement Council. To register, visit the Council’s website. About the webinar Recent research by Ithaka S+R and others has revealed that more than 6.6 million students nationally owe debt on an unpaid balance to a previously attended college or university, with an average balance of $2,400. The vast majority of institutions withhold…
Blog Post
March 10, 2022

A Preliminary Analysis of Debt Forgiveness Programs

The COVID-19 pandemic spotlighted the ever-increasing amount and crushing effects of student debt, including debts owed directly to postsecondary institutions. In an earlier report, Solving Stranded Credits, we estimated that roughly 6.6 million students owe over $15 billion in unpaid balances to colleges and universities in the United States. The weight of institutional debt can leave students feeling defeated, forcing many to avoid pursuing postsecondary education altogether. On a national scale, these debts…
Blog Post
December 8, 2021

A Sustainable Solution to Settle Students’ Debt and Release Stranded Credits

Ithaka S+R and Eight Ohio Public Institutions Announce Promising New Pilot

Since publishing our first report on the subject in October 2020, Ithaka S+R has been at the forefront of defining the problem of stranded credits. We are now moving ahead with testing a potentially groundbreaking solution. “Stranded credits” are credits that students have earned but can’t access because their former institution is holding their transcript as collateral for an unpaid balance to the institution. Ninety-five percent of…
Blog Post
August 30, 2021

Collecting Data on New Debt Relief Programs

What’s the Impact on Stranded Credits and Student Outcomes?

Stranded credits, or academic credits previously earned but inaccessible due to an outstanding debt to an institution, impact an estimated 6.6 million students across the country. Students affected by stranded credits represent nearly one-sixth of the estimated 36 million students who left college with some credit, but no degree, and are more likely to be students of color and from lower-income backgrounds. Recently, the issue of stranded credits…
Blog Post
August 17, 2021

“It pushes you down even further”

Documenting the Burden of Stranded Credits Through the Voices of Those Affected

In October 2020, Ithaka S+R estimated that 6.6 million people in the US owe a debt to a college or university they previously attended, and because of that, cannot access their transcripts or credentials. This insidious and understudied form of student debt not only saddles individuals with collections, credit rating issues, and other typical consequences of debt, but also prevents them from using credits and credentials they’ve earned to continue their education or…
Research Report
August 17, 2021

Stranded Credits: A Matter of Equity

Usually when student debt is discussed and examined, the focus is on federal and private loans; however there are other more insidious forms of student debt that affect thousands of students each year and impact their ability to matriculate, transfer, qualify for scholarships and even qualify for job opportunities. Stranded credits is a phenomenon where students earn academic credits but cannot access them due to an unpaid balance with a previously attended institution that is holding their transcript as collateral.
Blog Post
May 4, 2021

A State-by-State Snapshot of Stranded Credits Data and Policy

As the higher education sector begins to address the adverse effects of the pandemic on enrollment, institutions and policymakers alike have begun to turn their attention to a pernicious form of debt that could be preventing over six million students, especially low-income students and students of color, from re-enrolling and earning their degrees. This form of debt prevents students from accessing their transcripts at institutions they attended in the past, leading those previously earned credits to become “stranded” at…
Blog Post
October 5, 2020

“Stranded Credits”

New Report Explores Scope and Effects of Transcript Withholding 

In the past 20 years, over thirty-six million Americans have left higher education without earning a postsecondary degree or credential. Those with some college experience but no degree are often left in debt without the requisite labor market opportunities to pay it off, and can struggle financially for several years after dropping out. These impacts are particularly deleterious for students of color, who are often saddled with an…
Research Report
October 5, 2020

Solving Stranded Credits

Assessing the Scope and Effects of Transcript Withholding on Students, States, and Institutions

Attention to the burden of U.S. educational debt, now at $1.7 trillion, has grown in recent years. For too many former postsecondary students—especially Black students—debt they took on to improve their lives and career prospects has instead become a financial hindrance, delaying or undermining their efforts to buy homes, build savings, or provide for their families. The debt burden is especially severe for those who never completed their postsecondary program and therefore did not receive the credentials that might have…