On October 4, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Assembly Bill 1313, which prohibits postsecondary schools from withholding transcripts as a debt collection tool. The law is effective January 1, 2020.
The bill adds new Title 1.6C.7, the “Educational Debt Collection Practices Act,” to Part 4 of Division 3 of the California Civil Code. It provides that a school shall not do any of the following:
- Refuse to provide a transcript for a current or former student on the grounds that the student owes a debt
- Condition the provision of a transcript on the payment of a debt, other than a fee charged to provide the transcript
- Charge a higher fee for obtaining a transcript, or provide less favorable treatment of a transcript request, because a student owes a debt
- Use transcript issuance as a tool for debt collection
For purposes of these prohibitions, a “school” is defined as “any public or private postsecondary school, or any public or private entity, responsible for providing transcripts to current or former students of a school.” A “debt” is defined as “any money, obligation, claim, or sum, due or owing, or alleged to be due or owing, from a student, but does not include the fee, if any, charged to all students for the actual costs of providing the transcripts.”