tag: Transcript withholding
November 8, 2023
Op-Ed in The Hill Highlights Opportunities Following Education Department’s New Transcript Withholding Ban
Almost exactly three years after Ithaka S+R first published national research on “stranded credits”—credits that students have earned but can’t access because their college is holding their transcript and blocking registration until they pay a balance due—the federal government is on the verge of eliminating transcript withholding as a debt collection practice. In a new op-ed in The Hill, we discuss a package of regulations issued by the US Education Department and aimed at protecting beneficiaries of…
September 27, 2023
The Ohio College Comeback Compact successfully concluded its pilot year, demonstrating proof of concept for a novel program aimed at re-enrolling college students with stranded credits and settling the institutional debt they owed their former institutions. The Compact is advancing to a full implementation at the eight original public colleges and universities in Northeast Ohio for the 2023-24 academic year. And, with generous support from Lumina Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, and the Joyce Foundation, Ithaka S+R will be…
August 7, 2023
Institutions and states are facing increasing pressures to stop the practice of withholding student transcripts for failure to pay balances in full. In fact, over half of states have enacted or considered policies on this issue over the past several years. The Department of Education and the CFPB have also weighed in with guidance and new policies. In this session at the 2023 SHEEO Higher Education Policy Conference, leaders from three states that have taken unique approaches to addressing…
January 10, 2023
Over the last 13 months, New Jersey state legislators have considered four bills related to transcript withholding—or the practice of postsecondary institutions withholding a student’s transcript until they have paid their full balance. It appears now that the state may be one step closer to banning the practice—but only some of the time. Assembly Bill 1198 was recently assigned to the Senate Higher Education Committee, which may now move forward with discussing, debating, and amending the legislation before sending…
October 31, 2022
Successfully addressing student debt, transcript holds, and re-enrollment for adult learners often requires cross-organizational partnerships. The Ohio College Comeback Compact is doing exactly that in northeast Ohio. A regional collaborative of eight public colleges and universities, the Ohio Department of Higher Education, Ithaka S+R, and College Now Greater Cleveland, the Ohio Compact is an innovative program allowing students to return to one of the participating institutions despite owing institutional debt that likely resulted in a transcript hold.
October 11, 2022
Last week, the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued new guidance that postsecondary institutions cannot withhold academic transcripts from students owing past due institutional loan payments. The action is part of a series of decisions aimed at regulating institutionally-based aid programs such as loans and Income Share Agreements, or ISAs. This move protects some students with stranded credits, or credits students have earned but cannot document because of a past due balance.
August 15, 2022
Over the past several years, state and federal regulators have increasingly scrutinized the practice of transcript withholding. 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 for jobs that require postsecondary degrees, and potentially be in a better position to pay off their educational debt.
July 7, 2022
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.
August 17, 2021
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…
August 17, 2021
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.
October 5, 2020
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…
October 5, 2020
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…