College to discontinue a common practice of withholding transcripts of students who have an outstanding balance
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Ivy Tech Community College announced today that the College will make available the transcripts of all students regardless of whether the student owes a balance to the College. Withholding transcripts has been a common way for most higher education institutions to incentivize students to pay debts. However, the practice makes it difficult for students to transfer and continue their education.
“Our primary goal at Ivy Tech Community College is to prepare individuals to achieve their goals and contribute to their families and their communities through high-wage careers,” said Sue Ellspermann, President of the College. “We are working to remove barriers in the way of achieving that goal, and this is a step we can take to move our students toward a better financial future.”
The new policy does not forgive debt, but it does provide a way forward for students to continue their academic pursuits, which in turn sets them up for greater financial prosperity. The policy positively impacts as many as 82,000 students statewide.
In recent years, the College has explored a number of innovative ways to increase the graduation rate of its students. The new transcript policy, along with the Ivy+ tuition and books program and other initiatives encourage students to complete their degrees faster and with fewer barriers.
Nearly all (98 percent) of the 410 respondents to a 2016 survey from the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) indicated their higher education institutions hold transcripts as a debt collection tactic. Nationally, according to the study, Solving Stranded Credits: Assessing the Scope and Effects of Transcript Withholding on Students, States, and Institutions, approximately 6.6 million students have “stranded credits,” or academic credits they earned but cannot access due to unpaid balances.
Additionally, according to a survey from the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO), public institutions that enroll higher percentages of Pell-eligible students are more likely to withhold transcripts for an outstanding balance. This suggests that students who are most in need are disproportionally affected by transcript hold policies.
About Ivy Tech Community College
Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana’s largest public postsecondary institution and the nation’s largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state’s engine of workforce development, offering associate degree and short-term certificate programs, and trainings that align to the needs of the community. The College also offers courses and associate degree programs that seamlessly transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a Bachelor’s degree.
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