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 passed the House today on Second Reading.
“With this bill, we’re working to dismantle a debt collection tool that disproportionately affects low-income students and students of color,” said Rep. Jennifer Bacon, D-Denver. “When post-secondary institutions withhold transcripts because of unpaid parking tickets, library fines or some other fees, students have a harder time entering the workforce or transferring schools. Holding the credits a student earned for ransom prohibits talented graduates from enlisting in the military, enrolling in nursing courses or applying for their dream job. This legislation will prepare our students for success and ensure Colorado’s workforce is stronger and more talented than ever.”
“Transcript withholding is an unnecessary barrier for graduates entering the workforce,” said Rep. Naquetta Ricks, D-Aurora. “This bill would prohibit post-secondary institutions from withholding transcripts and diplomas from students with unpaid debts. Graduates have done the work and earned the credits, now let’s make it easier for them to prove it to future employers. Whether our students are applying for their first post-college job or enrolling in a new program, this bill prepares our students for success and moves Colorado forward.”
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 minor costs students may not realize they owe.
The bill also protects students with debt from tuition, financial aid funds, and room and board fees from having their transcript withheld when they apply for a job, credit transfer or financial aid. It also protects transcript withholding for those pursuing opportunities in the military and post-secondary institutions. Across the country, students owe approximately $15 million in unpaid balances, impacting over 6.6 million students.