Letter to the editor: End transcript withholding

Scott Gilbert <sgilbert@coloradocommunitymedia.com>
Posted 5/17/21

End transcript withholding When colleges withhold transcripts for ransom for unpaid fines, it creates a vicious Catch-22; students need a well-paying job to afford the fine, they need a degree to get …

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Letter to the editor: End transcript withholding

Posted

End transcript withholding

When colleges withhold transcripts for ransom for unpaid fines, it creates a vicious Catch-22; students need a well-paying job to afford the fine, they need a degree to get a well-paying job, students need a transcript to prove they finished their degree, and they can't get a transcript until they pay the fine. For most colleges, the cost of an unpaid parking ticket or library fine is an insignificant portion of their budget. For many students, those expenses mean missing rent or not being able to eat. When students can't pay a single fine, the late fees add up over time. Their life plans are derailed, they become liable for paying back grants and thousands of dollars they've invested into their education goes to waste.

This practice doesn't work for schools either; even with the most aggressive collection tactics, colleges only retrieve 7 cents for every dollar owed. Thousands of students are being held back due to a policy that is ineffective at best and greedy at worst. If schools stopped withholding transcripts, more students would be able to obtain their degree and become financially stable enough to pay the fine.

Transcript withholding is a barrier to financial mobility that gets overlooked by the public, so it's important we shine a light on the issue. Make a plan to meet with your state legislators this summer and fall so they know their constituents want to see a bill next legislative session that will ban transcript withholding.

Paulina Castle

Englewood

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