Holding Transcripts Hostage (Opinion)

Thursday, May 3, 2012
Students traditionally have a soft spot for their alma maters. But as growing numbers of students run up debt in the high five and even six figures to pay for college, that may change. Especially when they discover their old school is actively blocking them from getting a job or going on to a higher degree. That's what increasing numbers of students are finding when they try to obtain an official transcript to send to potential employers or graduate admissions offices. It turns out many colleges and universities refuse to issue these critical documents if students are in default on student loans, or in many cases, even if they just fall one or two months behind. This is happening at a time when recent grads are finding it particularly hard to find work, not just in their chosen fields, but anywhere. About half of recent college degree-holders were unemployed or underemployed last year, according to an Associated Press study released last week. And the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau estimates student loan debt has passed $1 trillion, an amount greater than all outstanding credit card debt. The Department of Education put the default rate at 8.8% of student borrowers as of September 2010.

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