Thu, 02/09/2023 - 10:57am
University of the Cumberlands is adopting a new policy to help students who may graduate while owing the university money.
Cumberlands is announcing a formal change to its transcript policy, making student academic transcripts more accessible to students and graduates, even if those individuals still owe on their account. The topic has been one that has drawn national attention lately as more and more employers request access to transcripts as part of the hiring process. Most colleges require that account balances be settled before releasing those transcripts, thus establishing a roadblock for students trying to move from college into the workforce.
“Every employee on this campus is challenged to look for ways to make college more affordable and help our students find opportunities beyond their college career,” said Dr. Larry L. Cockrum, university president. “This shift in policy will have an immediate impact on the outcomes of many of our students.”
Quentin Young, chief financial officer at Cumberlands, explained the transcript policy change, “Often, a graduate’s post-college employment depends on these transcripts, not their diploma. Withholding the transcript from the student would be hindering their economic viability. And there’s a further domino effect: if a graduate can’t get a job due to a transcript hold, then how can they make enough money to pay off outstanding debts anyway? In short, there’s a logical problem here, and Cumberlands is working to combat the issue. Students and new graduates have enough on their plates. We see this move as supporting our graduates in increasing their employability and job opportunities.”
Young said students are required to pay a fee to have the transcripts released and of course are still responsible for any account balances they may have.
Now, however, no matter what a Cumberlands student, graduate, or former student may owe the school financially, they will have access to their transcript, he said. Their transcript will be available to them when they are applying to graduate school, new employment opportunities, and so on.
“I know people that cannot finish their education because they are having their transcripts withheld by another school,” added Dr. Trey Jarboe, university provost. “This is really a tool to promote degree completion and student success.”
“Holding transcripts ransom” is a practice that has been accused of “pushing forward cyclical poverty” and reportedly affects hundreds of thousands of students around the country, according to a report issued by NPR. 1 As a university in which approximately 40 percent2 of its students are first-generation college students, Cumberlands actively works to end cyclical poverty through education – and doesn’t plan on starting the process after a student has already earned a diploma.
Attorney Rebecca Maurer, who is a Student Loan Justice Fellow with the Student Borrower Protection Center, wrote that there is “an immense amount of economic potential locked up by past-due school fees” when graduates are unable to work or enroll in graduate school solely because they have no access to their college transcripts.3 With University of the Cumberlands’ transcript policy, Cumberlands students don’t have to worry about accessing their transcripts either during or after their time at the university.
For students and graduates desiring access to an official Cumberlands transcript, contact the Office of the Registrar by visiting www.ucumberlands.edu/registrar.