The current and anticipated increase in institution of higher education (IHE) closings due to declining enrollments, decreasing budgets, and the ‘for-profit implosion,’*
will result in a growing number of students
left with incomplete educations and many questions as they pertain to their academic plans and personal finances. The closing IHE bears a significant responsibility to ensure the secure transfer and safe-keeping of its student education records. However,
guidelines for both the closing and receiving IHE/entity will help guide school officials to ensure integrity of the closed IHE and its records are preserved and that students don’t suffer undue burden and stress as a result of the closure.
*Vasquez, M. and Bauman, D. April 4, 2019. How America’s College-Closure Crisis Leaves Families Devastated. The Chronicle of Higher Education. https://www.chronicle.com/interactives/20190404-ForProfit
Building off the recommendations and guidelines for IHE closings as published in the AACRAO publications Academic Record and Transcript Guide and Student Records Management: Retention, Disposal, and Archive of Student Records
as well as in
the newly revised CAS Standards for Registrar Services
, the AACRAO work group will develop clear and comprehensive guidelines and best practices for both the closing and receiving IHE or entity as they pertain to student records and student support.
Because some works already exist on this topic, it is recommended that this Work Group have an abbreviated timeline and size. It is to be comprised of six (6) AACRAO members representing diverse institutional types, sizes and professions. It
is anticipated that the Work Group can conduct its research and produce a 8-10 page guidance report in an approximately 6-month timeframe. Work Group members should consult other professional associations on records and guidelines not typically maintained
or managed by registrars, including financial aid, military records, disciplinary records, etc., and include appropriate referrals in its report.
The Work Group’s guidance will be submitted to the AACRAO Vice President for Records and
Academic Services for review by the AACRAO Board of Directors.
The Work Group will research and consider:
- Guidelines and best practices for closing IHEs pertaining to student education records
- Identification of institution or state entity to receive the records
- Types of student education records to be transferred to the receiving IHEs or entity, including but not limited to official academic transcripts and admissions records
- Transmission mode of historical records
- Communication to current and former students, and applicants
- Guidelines and best practices for IHEs or entities retaining student education records from closed IHEs
- Retrieval and storage best practices
- Formats of records for preservation and easy access
- Information to include/not include on transcripts and other records
- Communication and support for students from closed institution
- State policies, where and how to locate and maintain this information
- Student record impacts when teach-out plans exist
- Agreements for students to be able to transfer earned credits from closed IHEs to other IHEs
The AACRAO office, in consultation with the Board of Directors and work group members, will consider ways to make these guidelines available to members, such as an addendum to the AR&TG available for purchase, or as a stand-alone document.