DENVER, CO – Legislation sponsored by Representatives Jennifer Bacon and Naquetta Ricks to prohibit post-secondary institutions from withholding transcripts because a student owes a debt to the institution today passed the House Education Committee by a vote of 6 to 3.
“Transcript withholding should never be used as a debt collection tool,” said Rep. Jennifer Bacon, D-Denver. “This tactic disproportionately impacts students of color and those eligible for federal Pell Grants and makes it harder for graduates to use the skills they’ve learned to thrive in the workforce, enlist in the military or enroll in nursing courses. Our legislation would stop post-secondary institutions from using unpaid parking tickets, library fines, and other unpaid debts as a reason to withhold a student’s transcript. We’re working hard to break down credit ransom barriers for students so they can succeed after graduation and move Colorado forward.”
“When a transcript is withheld, it makes it harder for that student to enter the workforce, creating a cycle of unpaid debt that can have lasting impacts on students,” said Rep. Naquetta Ricks, D-Aurora. “Students trying to move forward with their lives instead face challenging new barriers because of small unpaid debts like late library book fees or unpaid parking tickets. This hurts our economy and our workforce. We aren’t preparing students for success when institutions teach the skills they’ll need but then withhold their transcripts and diplomas.”
HB22-1049 would protect students from transcript withholding when students owe an unpaid debt. It would also prohibit institutions from charging a higher fee or providing less favorable treatment in response to a transcript or diploma request because a student owes a debt. Debts protected by the bill range from unpaid fees to parking tickets, library fees, and other costs students may not realize they owe. Across the country, students owe approximately $15 million in unpaid balances, impacting over 6.6 million students.