New Law Protects Access to School Records

(May 17) – Governor John Hickenlooper this afternoon signed into law a bill authored by Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet that protects student access to their own grades and transcripts.

“We must give every student access to a free public education,” said Rep. Michaelson Jenet, D-Commerce City. “That includes access to their grades and transcripts if they need to change schools or reenroll. Grades, transcripts and academic records belong to the student and no student should be prevented from receiving or continuing their education because of inability to pay.”

HB17-1301 prevents a school or school district from withholding records required for enrollment in another school or institution of higher education, such as a transcript or diploma, for failure to pay any fine or fee assessed by the school. This includes fines related to returning or replacing textbooks, library resources or other school property.

Testimony during the bill’s hearing before the House Education Committee pointed out that the policy of withholding transcripts can lead to low-income students dropping out of school. Martin Schneider with the Community Prep School in Colorado Springs said that half of the students at the school each year are new students and 35 percent of those students have unpaid fines from previous schools—most fines are less than $30.00. Many of those students and their families don’t have an ability to pay those fines which acted as a barrier up until now for students seeking to continue their education.

The law will be active for the next school year.

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