FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 11, 2021
Contact: Juan Ramiro Sarmiento
(785) 760-6567 | JuanRamiro.Sarmiento@younginvincibles.org
In Major Win for New York’s College Students, CUNY Will Suspend Transcript Withholding
(New York City, NY) – Today, the City University of New York – the nation’s largest urban public university – announced its decision to temporarily suspend a debt collection practice of withholding transcripts from former students. Academic transcripts are often required documentation for employment, promotions, or further education. As many as 6.6 million students are impacted by transcript withholding practices across the country due to outstanding bills.
Over the past two legislative sessions, YI New York has advocated for an end to transcript withholding as a debt collection practice and continued to research the impact of transcript withholding has across New York. With our partners at SBPC and the Community Service Society of New York, we published new research, which found that students living in majority Black or Latino neighborhoods were eight to 10 times more likely to have their transcripts withheld than students living in other neighborhoods.
In response, Marissa Muñoz, Northeast Region Director for Young Invincibles issued the following statement.
“Ultimately, transcript withholding as a debt collection practice is a matter of equity. Our analysis found that transcript withholding disproportionately affects communities of color in New York.
Every year, thousands of New York’s college students get caught in the “transcript trap” — where students are prevented from accessing their academic records because of a past debt owed to their college. Without access to their official transcript, students are not only unable to reenroll or transfer to another college — their credit is ruined, their total debt load increases due to collection fees and interest, and they may even be sued.
No New York college student should be held back by past debts.
By temporarily suspending transcript withholding, CUNY has significantly made college graduation and employment more attainable for thousands of its students. While this action represents a step in the right direction, we must permanently remove transcript withholding as a debt collection practice across the state.
Now is the time for the New York State Assembly to act and move forward with bill A6938A, leading more students to degree attainment, employment, and a sound economic future.”