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How to be admitted to an open enrollment university without transcripts?
August 23, 2014 4:41 PM   Subscribe

I am trying to take courses at the local branch of a larger University in Ohio. The more rual branches have an open enrollment policy, however still request transcripts from previous schools attended. There was a very clustered situation, involving the retroactive removal of my financial aid package, at a previous school, too crazy to fix but it left me with a $15,000 bill that I am not realistically going to pay off making the minimum wage I happen to be earning, right now. I don't want to wait any longer to finish my degree, so remaining out of school until I come up with $15,000 is not a path I am pursuing. I would like to get advice from those out there with some knowledge, how can I gain admission to a university without this very expensive transcript?
posted by cheetahchick to Education (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Do you have access to an unofficial transcript? Through a student portal at your former university, say? Or one you previously downloaded, or were mailed?

I'm guessing that you want your credits from the old university to transfer and count toward your degree. I can't really see any way to do that other than to get access to a transcript so your new university will be able to award you said degree.

(And: It seems to me you might want to take a shot at fixing this "too crazy to fix" situation. This, as I'm sure you are well aware, is going to create a lot of headaches for you, and not just academically.)
posted by sevensnowflakes at 5:00 PM on August 23 [2 favorites]


Look I am an Ohioan who had a similar problem. For my situation, there was no magical fix. I just had to pay off the large bill (9k) to get to where I needed to go. I spent a lot of time trying to avoid that, but the only other option would be to lie by omission (which was really not an option for me morally and in terms of long-term consequences). Now your situation may be different, but mine wasn't a happy ending, financially.
posted by Aranquis at 5:00 PM on August 23 [3 favorites]


there's a little sumthin' called Chapter 7 bankruptcy that exists for situations like this. I am by no means knowledgeable about bankruptcy law but I'm pretty sure you can get that unsecured debt completely discharged. and I believe they may have to release the transcript as soon as you file the Chap. 7 paperwork.
posted by jayder at 5:22 PM on August 23


Student debt can't be discharged by bankruptcy.
posted by crazy with stars at 5:26 PM on August 23 [4 favorites]


I was in this situation a few years ago actually. I wanted to return to school and finish my degree but I owed a few thousand at my former school which I would need to pay in order to access my transcripts. It took me a year or so to finally come to grips with the fact that I needed to bite the bullet and just pay them, but I eventually did and I'm better for it.

I totally sympathize, this is an absolutely painful situation to be in. It will help if you figure out a way to pay it off as quickly as possible. Take out a line of credit at your credit union, borrow from friends and family, get a second job, etc. Life won't be great for a time, but in a few years you will be happy you made the sacrifice. I know I was.
posted by miltthetank at 5:40 PM on August 23 [1 favorite]


I will certainly pursue the unofficial transcript route, I am concerned about whether or not the university will be ok with this, for the time being and if so, for how long.

The idea of filing for chapter 7 has crossed my mind, however, I don't want to take that route and from the looks of it, most educational debt cannot be eliminated in this way. If it could be, I would consider this option, so long as it expedited a path to being back in school. Getting back into college/University is key, right now. Can't express through words. Must find a way :)

PS Does anyone know anything about obtaining official transcripts through the State department of education? I read someone's post elsewhere online suggesting that they might provide them in 50% of cases.

My school debt is held by the state attorney general's office.... what does this mean? Can it help my situation?

Thank you for the responses, keep them coming!
posted by cheetahchick at 5:54 PM on August 23


It might be worth talking with financial aid representatives at the current and former universities both, and say, "Look, I want to finish my degree so I can get a job that will allow me to pay off this debt, but I'm in a real catch-22 because I can't get my credits towards my degree unless I pay the bill, and I can't pay the bill unless I finish the degree."

I expect if you worked out a payment plan of some sort and made token good-faith payments on the debt, the former university would be willing to release the transcript to the current university.

(Also, if this student loan is still accruing interest, you really, really need to deal with it and get on top of it!)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:08 PM on August 23 [8 favorites]


There's a difference between student loans (made by a lending institution) and a tuition bill. It sounds like what's at issue is a bill, not a loan.
posted by alexei at 6:56 PM on August 23


I think you are correct in making the distinction between a bill and a loan, here. This piece was knocking about in the back of my mind. It's my understanding that all of this debt is in fact tuition or "bill" and not "loan". Maybe this would reopen the chapter 7 option, if so?
posted by cheetahchick at 7:11 PM on August 23


That is what I was thinking. The llama are not dischargeable but the debt should be.
posted by AlexiaSky at 7:15 PM on August 23 [5 favorites]


I work at a college and I concur with Aranquis and miltthetank. Pay up or no transcripts is gonna be the rule and you seriously can't get around it.

Also, "unofficial transcripts" is a load of crap:
(a) We're not supposed to hand out such a thing in the first place (you really don't want other colleges seeing your retroactive grade changes and drops and crap like that, do you?). Every time someone asks for one, we just look at them funny and ask why and then say no.
(b) If you haven't been a student there for awhile, you won't have access to the student portal to check that.
(c) Universities specifically require OFFICIAL transcripts. That come in a sealed envelope that say "UNOFFICIAL ONCE OPENED." Admissions departments won't accept a transcript that isn't coming to them in that envelope. If you send them your "unofficial," assuming you could actually get one at all, they will reject it.

"PS Does anyone know anything about obtaining official transcripts through the State department of education?"


Nope, never heard of this. I would be surprised if the state department could get a hold of your transcript without contacting the school.

I know you don't want to wait and pay it off, but I seriously don't see any way you can get around it. You can try to talk to someone in student accounting/financial aid, but I don't really know if there's anything they can do for you or not (not my area). Sorry to be the anvil on this one.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:08 PM on August 23 [3 favorites]


You can start over from scratch. Do two years at a JC get all of your credits knocked out. It's cheap and cheerful. Then transfer to the university to finish up.

Another option is to take CLEP. The exams are $80 apiece and they offer 33 different exams. So for $4,000 you can get 60 credit hours, which will be MUCH less time and trouble than taking intro classes over again, or hassling with transfer credits. Just see what your school of choice's policies are.

Good luck to you!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:24 AM on August 24 [2 favorites]


I work at a college and I concur with Aranquis and miltthetank. Pay up or no transcripts is gonna be the rule and you seriously can't get around it.

except of course for chapter 7 which pretty much exists to let you get around paying a debt like this.
posted by jayder at 4:42 PM on August 24


As far as unofficial transcripts being a "load of crap": well, that must vary from university to university. I could, right this second, log on to a portal through my former university and have one in under a minute.

Whether your new school would accept an unofficial transcript is, of course, another matter. Best of luck.
posted by sevensnowflakes at 6:19 PM on August 24


except of course for chapter 7 which pretty much exists to let you get around paying a debt like this.

Sure, you don't have to pay it. But, by the same token, they don't have to provide you with official transcripts either, as far as I know.
posted by alexei at 12:10 AM on August 25 [1 favorite]


Sure, you don't have to pay it. But, by the same token, they don't have to provide you with official transcripts either, as far as I know.

huh? what are you talking about?

holding the official transcripts is am action taken solely to collect the debt, and bankruptcy filing stops those actions.
posted by jayder at 2:16 PM on August 26


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