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SUNY stops withholding transcripts from students with outstanding debt to colleges

SUNY schools will no longer withhold transcripts of current or former students who owe money. Governor Kathy Hochul announced an agreement between the Executive Branch and State University of New York Board of Trustees to end the practice of withholding transcripts from students with outstanding balances, effective immediately.

The measure was part of Governor Hochul’s 2022 State of the State plan. Separate legislation would go a step further- including all higher education institutions in the state.

“Education is key to unlocking opportunity and to help New Yorkers succeed, we need to eliminate punitive barriers to opportunity like transcript withholding,” Governor Hochul said. “This is a matter of common sense. New Yorkers will not be able to climb the ladder of success and get out of debt if their financial challenges prevent them from accessing those opportunities. While I am proud that SUNY students will no longer have their transcripts held hostage, all students deserve the same protections. We must pass legislation to end this unjust practice for all New York students once and for all.”

While approximately 50% of SUNY students graduate from college debt-free, the other half leave with some level of debt. In 2020, around 19,000 students still owed SUNY campuses money. Now, those individuals can receive their transcripts.

DiSanto Propane (Billboard)

“Students come to SUNY for an excellent and affordable college education, often making personal sacrifices along the way in order to reach the career of their dreams. To come so far only to be held back by unpaid fees and fines is simply unfair to our students,” SUNY Interim Chancellor Deborah F. Stanley said.

It’s unclear if the legislature will have any interest in taking up similar action on private schools.

SUNY schools in the Finger Lakes and Central New York include a number of popular two-year institutions like Finger Lakes Community College and Cayuga Community College.