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Articles / Applying to College / Getting a Transcript Released With a Debt Still Due to a Former College

Getting a Transcript Released With a Debt Still Due to a Former College

Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | Sept. 2, 2010

Question: I owe a university $1664.00 and I want to attend another, but the old university will not release my transcript. What am I to do? What are my options? Thanks for help.

Unfortunately, colleges are unrelenting in this situation. Administrators know that the only way they are likely to see the money that a former student owes them is by withholding the transcript until the debt is paid. You can try to negotiate a release by offering to set up a payment plan (where you pay a specified amount up front and then make additional monthly payments until you reach the total owed). However, it's highly unlikely that the college will release your transcript before you've paid off the entire debt.


If you have compelling (i.e., sympathy-evoking) reasons why you can't pay your debt right away (e.g, you or a parent lost a job; you or a parent had high medical bills), you can try providing documentation of this, with the aim of convincing officials at your old university to agree to a payment plan. If this is the case, there's a long-shot chance that they will release your transcript once you've shown good faith by sticking to the plan for several months. But I'm not optimistic that you'll have any luck before your debt is paid in full.

Sorry that I can't provide better news.

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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