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November 27, 2023

Unlocking Educational Freedom: New Regulations Ensure Transcript Access for Students and Transform Disciplinary Investigations

The Department of Education recently released new regulations that are in part aimed at preventing colleges and universities from withholding transcripts from students who owe them money. See Financial Responsibility, Administrative Capability, Certification Procedures, Ability to Benefit (ATB), 88 Fed. Reg. 74568 (Oct. 31, 2023). These regulations, which will take effect on July 1, 2024, were designed to address the problem of “stranded credits” and college debt. However, these new regulations may also benefit student respondents who are involved in disciplinary investigations. Colleges and universities routinely withhold transcripts from student respondents pending the outcome of such investigations. Yet the new regulations will require universities accepting federal loan proceeds to provide, upon a student’s request, an official transcript that includes “all the credit or clock hours for payment periods in which a student received title IV, HEA funds and for which all institutional charges were paid at the time the request is made.” In other words, universities are required to provide official transcripts reflecting any time period in which the university has been fully paid using federal loans —even if only in part.

This publication is intended for general informational purposes only. The reader should not act upon this information without seeking professional legal counsel.