Nearly four million people graduate from college each year. And all of them are bound to need their transcripts at some point.
Even if you haven't graduated, your college transcripts are vital for transferring schools or programs and sometimes for scoring a job.
But what happens if you owe your school money?
In most cases, they won't give you your college transcript until you're paid up. Is this legal? What other recourse do you have?
In this blog post, we'll talk about some of your options to enable you to obtain your much-needed transcript.
Read on to learn more.
Is It Legal for a School to Withhold Your Transcript?
The short answer is yes. The transcript is the property of your school and not your personal property. Therefore, they are within their right to refuse a transcript to you on the basis that you've not paid what you owe to them in full.
In some cases, the money you owe is referred to as "a hold." If you have "a hold" on your account, they may not give the transcript to you.
You May Be Able to Request an Unofficial Transcript
In some cases, you'll be able to request an unofficial transcript only if you have a hold on your account. An unofficial transcript is one that is open and therefore "not official."
For many transfer requests or job requests, you'll need an official transcript. These transcripts usually cost a little bit more and have a seal across the back of it showing that no one has tampered with it.
An unofficial transcript may work for what you need, but it also may not be sufficient. Check with the person or institution requesting the document and discuss your situation.
Getting an Official College Transcript: Pay Your Hold
The first way to guarantee you'll get your transcript is to pay the hold on your account. While this may not be the easiest thing in the world for you to do, it may be necessary in order for you to move forward with your life.
This could require you taking out a small loan, using a credit card or borrowing money from a friend or family member. Or, you could also save up for the price of the hold and pay it when you request your transcript.
Paying the full amount of the hold is the only guaranteed way to ensure that your college will give you your transcript.
If you declare bankruptcy, your college will be notified and any holds on your account will be canceled. In this case, you'll be able to get your official transcripts once the college or university has confirmed your bankruptcy status.
This is typically done through a lawyer and he or she can then help you contact your college or university.
Once you've notified them of your bankrupt status, you can then simply pay the requisite fee for getting your transcript. Depending on the school, this can be anywhere from $10-$50.
After you've done this, you will be able to obtain your official transcript.
What If a Third Party Requests My Transcript?
Sometimes a third party requests your transcript to be sent to them directly. This is the case often when transferring universities, or sometimes for you to qualify for jobs or fellowships.
Third parties will request the transcripts directly in order to ensure that you haven't tampered with them.
While the transcript is sent to the third party directly, you're still responsible for paying the fees. For example, if your potential employer wants you to send them your transcript immediately, you'll still have to pay the rush fee.
The transcript will simply be sent to them instead of to you.
What About High School Transcripts?
High school transcripts tend to be a bit less formal, and dependent on the school itself. Most high schools will print transcripts regularly, as their students will often transfer or use the transcripts to apply to university.
Call your high school to discuss how to obtain the transcript and what the cost will incur.
If you attended public school, it is not very likely that you'll still owe fees. If you attended a private school, you may owe some unpaid fees, depending on your situation. It will be dependent upon the school as to whether or not they'll hold the transcript until you've paid all debt.
How About My GED Transcripts?
For most individuals, you'll request your GED transcript online on the GED website if you earned it after 2014. This costs $15-$20 in most cases.
You won't typically owe anything to those you took the GED test with unless you took it through a local community college or adult learning center. In that case, if you still owe them money, they may be able to hold your GED transcript until everything is paid.
Getting My College Transcripts
If you need to get your college transcripts, the best course of action is to pay anything you owe to your university. This is especially the case if you know you'll need several copies of your transcript in the future because you're either transferring, applying to graduate school or interviewing for jobs.
However, if you're unable to pay your debt, there are other ways around it.
If you're looking to replace your diploma or transcripts the same day, have a look at our transcript section. We can give you what you need quickly, simply and without hassle.