New York bans colleges from withholding transcripts over student debt

New York state has banned a practice often called “transcript ransoming” — successfully banning schools from withholding transcripts as a pupil debt assortment instrument.

Gov. Kathy Hochul signed laws Wednesday ending a observe that blocks college students from accessing transcripts, even when wanted to complete their levels or land jobs that would assist pay again these money owed.

“Transcripts are essential for college kids to proceed pursuing their instructional and profession targets,” Hochul mentioned in a press release. 

“To carry transcripts hostage till excellent money owed are paid is an unfair, predatory observe that stops our college students from reaching their full potential.”

An estimated 6.6 million college students nationwide couldn’t get their transcripts from schools and universities as a result of unpaid bills as low as $25 or less, in response to the nationwide training newsroom The Hechinger Report.

College transcript
The observe barred college students with debt from accessing their transcripts even when they wanted to complete their diploma or land a job.
Getty Pictures/iStockphoto

The outlet discovered these unpaid payments typically stemmed from prices college students weren’t conscious of, from room and board charges to parking or library fines.

“Transcripts are a report of a college students’ training — they aren’t and have been by no means meant to be instruments for debt assortment,” mentioned state Sen. Kevin Thomas of Lengthy Island, a former authorized providers legal professional who sponsored the invoice to cease the observe.

“Transcript withholding is a disruptive, counter-productive, and dangerous observe that stops college students from with the ability to switch credit, re-enroll in class to complete their levels, or acquire jobs that would assist them pay their balances,” he mentioned.

The legislation applies to New York personal and public schools and universities alike, and comes amid a nationwide dialog about tips on how to tackle pupil mortgage debt.

President Biden mentioned this week he has “not but” determined the quantity of pupil debt he would forgive —​ as White Home press secretary Jen Psaki mentioned a call may not come till the tip of August. ​

Hochul has signaled that she wished to finish transcript ransoming for the reason that State of the State Tackle in January.

“I used to be proud to make ending transcript withholding a high precedence and took motion to finish this observe at SUNY and CUNY in January,” she mentioned. “As we speak, we put an finish to this abhorrent coverage for all increased training establishments to make sure a degree enjoying area for New York’s college students.”

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