Senator Pacione-Zayas


CHICAGO – During the spring legislative session, State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas was proud to support two pieces of legislation to help high school and college students access their transcripts without having to worry about unpaid debts.

“When a student works hard to make their grades, they deserve access to those records to assist them in applying for further education or jobs,” said Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago). “High schoolers especially might struggle with paying fees if they come from a financially insecure household, but that shouldn’t prevent them from accessing their transcripts.”

Pacione-Zayas co-sponsored House Bill 4243, which prohibits public high schools from withholding a student’s grades, transcripts or diploma due to unpaid balances on the student’s account. The new law aims to grant students access to these documents and not rely on their or their family’s ability to pay balances.

Additionally, Pacione-Zayas supported Senate Bill 3032, which similarly prohibits universities from withholding students’ transcripts from employers as a means of debt collection. The measure also requires colleges to create a hardship policy to help students that have to withdraw for financial reasons to leave with as little debt as possible and prevents unpaid fees from being sent to a collection agency to be used against a student’s credit score.

“The rising cost of higher education is a barrier to many students,” Pacione-Zayas said. “Withholding transcripts containing a student’s hard-earned grades because of unpaid fees is an issue of equity, and these measures will combat that.”

Both measures have been signed into law. Both laws are now in effect.