Ending Transcript Withholding
One of the most harmful debt collection tactics is “transcript withholding,” where a school refuses to allow a student access to their transcript or diploma because of an outstanding debt to the school, often called an “account receivable.” Withholding a student’s transcript creates a dangerous Catch-22 for millions of borrowers—because the borrower lacks the cash needed to pay their debt, the school renders the student unable to reenroll, transfer schools, or otherwise obtain a higher paying job. And while millions of borrowers are caught in the trap of transcript withholding, this collection tactic is disproportionately favored by for-profit schools.
Transcript withholding hinders individual access to higher education and gives schools an unusual and unnecessary debt collection tool. It also hinders economic growth by holding ransom the educational achievements of these Americans.
In 2019, under the leadership of Attorney General Becerra through aggressive advocacy by the Campaign, California became the first state in the country to outlaw the practice of transcript withholding. Now, California students will not be denied access to the benefits of their education.