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Ivy Tech reverses policy that withholds transcripts from students who owe money

FILE: Kyle Stokes
Ivy Tech Community College has changed its policy and no longer withholds transcripts from students that owe money to the college.

By Sydney Dauphinais

For years, many Ivy Tech Community College students who wanted to transfer to a four-year university were unable to because the school withheld transcripts from students that owed any money to the college. But a new policy now makes transcripts available to all students.

Over 95 percent of institutions across the country withhold transcripts from students who owe money to the college as an incentive to settle outstanding balances. But for students who can’t pay -- often those with the most financial need -- this practice makes it difficult to continue their education and secure jobs with higher wages.

“They're truly in a catch-22 if they're trying to transfer their credits and go on to receive a higher level credential, a better paying job, and so on,” Dominic Chase, Ivy Tech’s chief financial officer said. “But they can't do that if we're holding the transcript. So really, the practice harms everyone involved.”

The new policy affects about 80,000 students across the state. Chase said that many students denied access to their transcripts owed as little as $5.

Although debt to the college is not forgiven, the policy is intended to encourage students to meet their educational goals by eliminating obstacles.

Contact WFYI economic equity reporter Sydney Dauphinais at Follow on Twitter: @syddauphinais.