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Hochul: SUNY Board ends practice of withholding transcripts from students with outstanding balances


Tue, Jan 25th 2022 05:55 pm

In 2022 State of the State, governor announced plan to stop transcript withholding at all colleges & universities

√ Following governor's directive, SUNY ends practice effective immediately

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Tuesday announced the State University of New York Board of Trustees has ended the practice of withholding transcripts from students with outstanding balances, effective immediately. This follows Hochul's plan to eliminate the practice across New York as part of the 2022 State of the State – including directing public colleges and universities to immediately stop withholding transcripts, and proposing legislation for all higher education institutions in the state.

"Education is key to unlocking opportunity and to help New Yorkers succeed. We need to eliminate punitive barriers to opportunity like transcript withholding," Hochul said. "This is a matter of common sense. New Yorkers will not be able to climb the ladder of success and get out of debt if their financial challenges prevent them from accessing those opportunities. While I am proud that SUNY students will no longer have their transcripts held hostage, all students deserve the same protections. We must pass legislation to end this unjust practice for all New York students once and for all."

Hochul’s team stated, “Each year, about 50% of SUNY students graduate from college debt-free. However, other students graduate with an outstanding balance of about $3,500, on average, and as of 2020 about 19,000 students still owed their SUNY campus. With today's board action, now those students may receive their transcript, thereby enabling them to reenroll in a campus, transfer credits, complete their degree, and obtain jobs that could help pay down their unpaid balance.”

CUNY announced a temporary hold on the practice last August.

As part of the resolution, the board also authorized the SUNY chancellor, or a designee, to review all debt collection practices and make any appropriate policy changes, rulemaking, and other modifications in line with Tuesday’s action.

SUNY follows state finance law, as well as State Division of the Budget guidance, SUNY regulations and policy, and a memorandum of understanding between SUNY and the New York attorney general.

Interim Chancellor Deborah F. Stanley said, "Students come to SUNY for an excellent and affordable college education, often making personal sacrifices along the way in order to reach the career of their dreams. To come so far only to be held back by unpaid fees and fines is simply unfair to our students. My thanks for Gov. Hochul for shining light on this oversight that has been common place throughout higher education, and for bringing further equity to our economically disadvantaged students, who have worked hard to earn their degree."

The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the U.S. More than 95% of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY's 64 colleges and universities. Learn more here.

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