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Deery: Bill to limit transcript ransom practices heads to governor's desk

Contact: Lance Gideon, Press Secretary

Deery: Bill to limit transcript ransom practices heads to governor's desk

STATEHOUSE (April 4, 2023) — A bill authored by State Sen. Spencer Deery (R-West Lafayette) that would limit scenarios in which public Indiana colleges may refuse transcript distribution to current and former students will now head to the governor's desk.

Under this common practice, colleges withhold transcripts from current and former students in order to collect a debt the individual owes, which limits their ability to transfer to another institution or even get a job.

According to Ithaka S+R, around 138,000 Hoosiers owe an average of $2,800 to colleges and universities.

Senate Enrolled Act 404 would prohibit universities from withholding a transcript if a student paid at least $100 to $300 toward their debt within the last year, depending on the amount owed.

"This bill was drafted to help increase college completion rates throughout Indiana so Hoosiers are ready for the 21st century workforce," Deery said. "Students who left school and have made a good faith effort to pay down their debts would be able to return to another institution and complete their degrees."

SEA 404 does not forgive debt, but changes how universities can leverage transcripts in order to collect the money current and former students may owe the institution. An alternative practice already permitted by existing law is for institutions to intercept the tax refunds of those who owe money.

In recent years, Ivy Tech Community College stopped withholding transcripts because of the success in obtaining payment through tax intercepts.

"Through this legislation, Indiana has shown leadership in fixing a problem states across the nation are wrestling with," Deery added. "We are the first to address the issue with a balanced approach and we have provided a model for other states to follow."

Legislative calendars, agendas, vote tallies, livestreams and proposed legislation can be viewed online by visiting


State Sen. Spencer Deery (R-West Lafayette) represents Senate District 23,
which includes Fountain, Parke, Vermillion and Warren counties,
and portions of Montgomery and Tippecanoe counties.
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