DENVER, CO – Governor Jared Polis today signed a bill to prohibit post-secondary institutions from withholding transcripts and diplomas because a student owes a debt to the institution.
“Withholding transcripts from students trying to enter the workforce is an unnecessary obstacle that disproportionately impacts low-income students and students of color,” said Sen. Brittany Pettersen, D-Lakewood. “We’re breaking down this barrier by prohibiting higher education institutions from withholding transcripts and diplomas from students who have unpaid debts when they are applying for a job or seeking further education, setting our students up for success and helping to strengthen our workforce.”
“Today, we’re breaking down barriers to earning a degree and entering the workforce that disproportionately affects low-income students and students of color,” said Rep. Jennifer Bacon, D-Denver. “Eliminating this debt collection tool means more Coloradans can go back to school, earn their degrees and accomplish their career goals. Transcript withholding has been used to prohibit Coloradans from enlisting in the military, beginning nursing school and completing their degree – not anymore. I am proud Governor Polis signed this bill into law to prepare our students for success.” “As Coloradans we believe in the values of responsibility and opportunity,” said Sen. Jeff Bridges, D-Greenwood Village. “If a student owes a college or university money, they ought to pay that money back. But when a student needs proof of their academic record to pursue a career and get a good paying job so that they can afford to pay off what they owe, colleges and universities have a responsibility to provide that transcript. Holding transcripts for ransom is a harmful debt collection practice that has become all too common, and I am proud that we’ve finally put a stop to it here in Colorado.”
“Transcript withholding will no longer be a barrier for graduates entering the workforce,” said Rep. Naquetta Ricks, D-Aurora. “When postsecondary institutions withhold student degrees and transcripts, we limit the number of talented Coloradans who can begin high-demand, high-skilled jobs. Graduates have done the work and earned the credits, now they can begin their careers.”
HB22-1049 will protect students from transcript withholding when students owe an unpaid debt. It also prohibits 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.
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. Debts protected by the bill range from unpaid fees to parking tickets, library fees and other minor costs students may not realize they owe.
It also protects transcript withholding for those pursuing opportunities in the military and post-secondary institutions. Over 6.6 million students are impacted by transcript withholding. This bill will alleviate this financial strain on students’ and ensure they are set up for educational success.