AACRAO Issues Statement Urging Institutions to Review Transcript Withholding Policies

October 12, 2022
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Colleges and universities should have a clear understanding of institutional policies regarding transcript and enrollment holds, and be prepared to explain how they determined these policies to be effective and fair, says a joint statement issued October 12, 2022 by AACRAO and other higher education associations.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently released a new report examining student loan servicers' practices as well as institutions that lend to students directly. The federal watchdog agency identified the practice of institutions withholding transcripts from current or former students as a top concern, calling blanket policies to withhold transcripts in connection with an extension of credit an "abusive practice."

AACRAO joined other higher education groups this week in a joint statement to reiterate the importance of clear and fair transcript withholding policies. The statement urges all college and university institutional and system leaders to review their existing transcript hold policies and consider how they might be revised to address inequities, improve educational access, and better serve their students. 

The statement draws on AACRAO's recent research on institutional practices that impede student advancement (see Part 1 and Part 2) as well as the association's joint statement with National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) on institutional holds, which provides specific guidance and best practices on the use of student success and administrative process holds and on the use of holds tied to an unpaid balance. It also highlights details from AACRAO’s 2020 white paper “Stranded Credits: Another Perspective on the Lost Credits Story,” which recommends reconsidering the practice of withholding a transcript for an outstanding balance of $25 or less.

AACRAO will continue to work with our institutions to mak progress on this important issue and ensure that all students are served fairly and effectively. 

Read the full statement.