The act authorizes a postsecondary institution to refuse to provide a transcript or diploma to a current or former student on the grounds that the student owes a debt for tuition, room and board fees, or financial aid funds, unless the student owes a debt other than a debt for tuition, room and board fees, or financial aid funds, or if the student can demonstrate that the transcript or diploma is needed for certain purposes.
If a postsecondary institution provides a transcript or diploma to a current or former student, the act prohibits the postsecondary institution from:
- Conditioning the provision of a transcript or diploma on the payment of a debt, other than a fee charged to provide the transcript or diploma;
- Charging a higher fee to obtain a transcript or diploma or providing less favorable treatment in response to a transcript or diploma request because a current or former student owes a debt; or
- Using transcript or diploma issuance as a tool for debt collection.
The act requires each postsecondary institution to adopt a policy that outlines the process by which a student may obtain a transcript or diploma and the circumstances under which a transcript or diploma may be withheld from a current or former student.
Beginning July 1, 2024, the act requires each postsecondary institution to annually report certain information to the department of higher education concerning transcript, diploma, and registration holds.
The act authorizes the student loan ombudsperson (ombudsperson) to provide information to the public regarding the limits on withholding a transcript or diploma and authorizes the ombudsperson and the administrator of the "Uniform Consumer Credit Code" (administrator) to receive complaints from a current or former student who has had a transcript or diploma withheld.
Beginning January 2025, the act requires the attorney general's office to compile data on the complaints received by the ombudsperson and the administrator concerning transcript and diploma holds and report the data through the annual SMART act hearing.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)