Transcripts go virtual, but at three times the original price

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Photo by Elsa Feltl

As of last year, the transcript service of the University of Dallas was a hard-copy, snail-mail operation. But this year, transcripts — like so much else in 2020 —have gone virtual, although at triple the price to students. 

UD now uses a third-party site, National Student Clearinghouse, to send student transcripts to graduate schools or employers. Instead of a hard copy sent from UD, the transcript is now entirely virtual. 

Paula Brown, the assistant registrar, explained that the virtual medium is a much more efficient way to handle transcripts.

“The paper thing was slow,” Brown said. “Of course, going through the postal service, even if you are mailing across the street, it could take three days. Whereas now, when students request transcripts, it’s automatic.”

Under the previous paper system, students could pay $5 for UD to send a transcript with the regular wait time, about five business days. If the student needed their transcript to be processed in one day, it cost $10. Under the National Student Clearinghouse, students now pay $15 for each transcript to be automatically sent to an employer or academic institution.  

Brown explained that the university did not have a financial incentive to switch to the virtual medium. 

“It wasn’t anything financially. We were trying to provide the best service that we could for our students,” said Brown.

Marisa Darby, who also works in the office of the registrar, said that the switch to National Student Clearinghouse is in students’ best interests.

“One person was essentially trying to get out everybody’s transcript, get them all mailed to the right place, and that can lead to human error. Going through Clearinghouse takes away a lot of that human error,” said Darby. 

Darby explained that the quick turnaround time for transcripts is especially important during the coronavirus when many UD students and alumni suddenly found themselves applying for jobs. 

“Especially with time-sensitive jobs and a situation like COVID where people have to work from home, it doesn’t stop your transcript process,” said Darby. “[If] you’re working from home, but you need a transcript sent, you [can] go through Clearinghouse and it’s there.” 

Darby and Brown said that they have not received any student complaints about the change, regardless of the price increase. 

“I haven’t had a lot of questions or concerns about it,” Darby said. Since she started working for the registrar in April, “everything has been positive.”

Brown also has not heard any student complaints regarding National Student Clearinghouse. 

“One thing that everyone likes is that they can have them emailed, and they go immediately,” said Brown.

The University will continue to offer graduates two free transcripts, sent by mail, if they choose to use them. Students who have not received a degree and graduates who have already used their two free transcripts, or who simply want an immediate digital transcript, have to go through the digital service and pay the required fee. 

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