How to track student records when colleges close or merge

COVID expect to force more colleges to consider major changes

“Merger” and “shutdown” are two words no college and university administrator wants to add to their operational vocabulary.

But one or the other may be a matter of survival for a number of institutions in the COVID-era, and one key to success is securing the records of students from the institution that is closing.

Best practices for this process are detailed in a new report from AACRAO, the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers.

Here’s a partial checklist for closing institutions:

  • Notify current and former students of the deadline for requests to change records.
  • Determine an effective date for the transfer of records. After that, all records requests should be directed to the receiving institution.
  • Create an inventory of all student files, listing record types, file formats and the years/population of students for each format.
  • Records from the closing institution should ideally be provided to the receiving institution/entity electronically or in the original file format.
  • Consider removing all holds that would prevent a student from receiving a diploma or transcript if the financial obligation will not follow the students’ records to the receiving institution.

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The report also covers:

  • FERPA considerations for closing institutions
  • How institutions manage teach out plans in which the closing school allows its students to complete their education within a specific period of time.
  • Guidance for merging two schools learning management systems and how to conduct degree audits to help students understand the remaining requirements.
  • Transferring credits, syllabi and course catalogs.
  • Considerations for recordkeeping technology in mergers and closings.
Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick is a life-long journalist. Prior to writing for District Administration he worked in daily news all over the country, from the NYC suburbs to the Rocky Mountains, Silicon Valley and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He's also in a band.

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