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Secretary Migulel Cardona.
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Proposal to limit colleges and universities from withholding student's transcript

Experts say this measure can help up to more than a million students access their credits and resume their college education.

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Included in a package of regulations released last month that applies to all institutions that receive federal financial aid, the Education Department proposed a banning colleges and universities from withholding a student’s transcript if they owe money because of that federal requirement. 

In order to certify an institution’s eligibility for federal financial aid, the department proposed prohibiting transcript withholding when a student’s balance results from an administrative error, an institution’s fraud or misconduct, or the Return to Title IV process, which relates to returning a student’s federal financial aid.

Researchers estimated that about 6.6 million students had credits at an institution that they couldn’t access because of an unpaid balance, and students who can’t access their transcripts can’t continue their education elsewhere without completely starting over. 

The proposal comes after nearly a dozen states have passed some form of regulation on transcript withholding since 2019, in order to prevent the practice of forcing students to pay a balance on their account. 

Advocates have been active against this measure. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said in October that withholding transcripts was abusive, and higher education groups have called on institutions to review their practices. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona has also expressed his opinions against the practice, saying it should end.

To learn more about the proposal, click here

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