Subject: Process for Releasing Official Transcript and/or Diploma for Students with Financial Holds
Under Maine law, the University of Maine System (UMS) must provide current and former students with their official transcript and/or diploma upon request, regardless of a past due balance or debt owed to the institution. This Administrative Practice Letter (APL) serves as the uniform policy regarding the conditions and procedures by which those requested academic records are to be released, and must be applied consistently by the System and all UMS universities.
Procedures for Students with Past Due Balances/Debt of $2,499 or Less
Upon the request of a current or former student with a past due balance or debt for damage/loss charges (e.g. library books, devices, facilities damage, etc.) of $2,499 or less, UMS universities must provide that student’s official transcript and/or diploma.
Because students with an outstanding balance will have a Financial/Diploma/Transcript (FDT) Hold Indicator posted on their past due account, they will not be able to request their official transcript and/or diploma including through third-party self-service options (i.e. National Student Clearinghouse) without first contacting the institution.
To obtain their record(s), students with an outstanding balance should contact the Student Accounts Office(s) at the UMS university/universities through which they incurred the debt that resulted in the hold(s). UMS universities shall communicate this record(s) request process for students with outstanding balances on all relevant institutional website pages.
Following such contact by the student, the Student Accounts Office will temporarily lift the FDT Hold Indicator for a period of 14 calendar days so the student can then request their official transcript and/or diploma through the Registrar’s Office or available self-service options. After 14 days, the FDT Hold Indicator will be reapplied and remain in place until the balance/debt is fully discharged, or until the student makes another records request subject to this APL.
The Student Accounts Office shall encourage the student to pay the outstanding balance or enter into a reasonable repayment plan, however in no event may UMS and its universities condition the release of the requested record(s) on agreement to a repayment plan for a balance due of $2,499 or less.
If a student has outstanding balances and is seeking official transcripts from multiple UMS universities, they must contact the Student Accounts Office at each university to request that the FDT Hold Indicator applied by that university be temporarily removed.
Procedures for Students with Past Due Balances/Debt of $2,500 or More
To request the release of their official transcript and/or diploma, a current or former student with a past due balance of $2,500 or more should contact the Student Accounts Office(s) at the UMS university/universities through which they incurred the debt that resulted in the hold(s).
Upon the student’s agreement to enter into a payment plan with the UMS university that takes into account the student’s demonstrated ability to pay and past payment history, the Student Accounts Office will temporarily lift the FDT Hold Indicator for a period of 14 calendar days so the student can then request their official transcript and/or diploma through the Registrar’s Office or available self-service options. UMS or its universities may not require a student to make a payment on a repayment plan prior to releasing the requested record(s). After 14 days, the FDT Hold Indicator will be reapplied and remain in place until the debt is fully discharged, or until the student makes another records request subject to this APL.
A student may appeal the terms of the repayment plan presented by the Student Accounts Office in writing to the university’s Chief Business Officer, who shall issue a written decision with 14 calendar days.
Additional Student Accounts Office Procedures Related to Records Requests from Students with Financial Holds of Any Amount
The Student Accounts Office shall also notify students that the temporary release of the FDT Indicator Hold does not provide the student with the ability to enroll, nor does it change the balance due, and that UMS and its universities will still utilize in-house collection efforts, commercial collection firms, legal services, and the State of Maine Bureau of Taxation for collection of past due balances.
When applicable and appropriate, the Student Accounts Office will refer students to resources to assist them in addressing the past due balance, including but not limited to the UMS small debt forgiveness program.
Additionally, to inform required annual reporting by UMS to the Maine State Legislature, the Student Accounts Office will place a Diploma/Transcript Release Flag on the account, capture the amount owed at the time of the temporary release of the hold, and select from one or more of the following Record Request Reason Codes:
A. Job application;
B. Transfer to another institution;
C. Application for financial aid;
D. Pursuit of opportunities in the military or National Guard; or
E. Pursuit of other postsecondary educational opportunities.
Procedures for Students Who Have Defaulted on Institutionally Held Loan
Institutionally held loans are those Federal financial aid (e.g. Perkins and some nursing loans) the terms and conditions of which cause the university to be party to the loan agreement with the student. Current or former students defaulting on such loans, regardless of the funding source, are considered to owe a debt to the institution and thus shall make requests to receive their official transcript and/or diploma from UMS or its universities in accordance with this APL by directly contacting or via university referral to UMS Loan Processing and Receivables Management, which department shall perform the temporary removal of the Defaulted Loan Hold (DLN) on the account as outlined above.
Procedures for Students Who Have a Financial Hold Due to Outstanding Student Loan Exit Counseling
Student loan exit counseling ensures borrowers are informed about their student loan obligations, understand various repayment options and are aware of the implications of default. For this reason, holds placed on the accounts of students and former students solely because they have not completed their student loan exit counseling session required by Federal law will not be temporarily removed and will remain until such counseling has been completed.
Approved by the Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer