SA hopefuls should reignite the call for waiving transcript fees

Applying to jobs, scholarships and graduate schools is a tedious and time-consuming process.

With most employers and scholarships requiring transcripts, the small task of sending grades should be the least of students’ concerns. But by charging students for transcripts, GW is creating another barrier that students must overcome to reach their goals.

To better serve students, GW should eliminate the costs of both sending and printing transcripts so students don’t have to face another financial burden on top of their already high cost of attendance when applying to jobs and other opportunities.

Although the University’s additional fees have been attributed to its location in one of the nation’s most expensive cities, five of GW’s peer schools, including New York and Georgetown universities, provide students with free paper transcripts. Among our 12 peer schools, GW topped the list as the most expensive on many categories, including the cost of requesting transcripts, according to a 2018 study released by the Student Association. The study, however, did not include Northeastern University.

Students have long complained about the high costs of attending GW, and this is not a new issue. Candidates for the SA’s top spots, like Executive Vice President Thomas Falcigno in 2016 and President Ashwin Narla in 2012, have called for the elimination of transcript fees in the past, but prices have only gone up. Since Narla’s attempt to eliminate transcript fees, the cost of accessing grades has risen 50 percent from $10 to $15.

With SA elections around the corner, candidates should make sure to include eliminating small costs, like the transcript fee, as a part of their platform and actually carry through with their plan so students don’t have to worry about paying another unnecessary bill.

Students currently pay $11 each time they want to send an official transcript to potential employers, scholarships and graduate schools domestically or $25 to send the transcripts internationally. While students have the option to request an electronic transcript – which costs $8 – the fees still add up.

With more than 65 percent of undergraduate students reportedly paying more than $101 for transcripts yearly, GW is taking advantage of students by charging for a necessity.

Unexpected fees, however small they may be, add up and students face no other option but to pay them. Students don’t want to pay hundreds of dollars to apply for jobs that may be unpaid or a few scholarships that they may not even get, but right now, that is their only option. That is why it is imperative for this year’s SA candidates to revive this issue.

As SA elections inch closer and students apply to summer jobs and internships, the cost of sending transcripts should be on everyone’s mind. It’s time for administrators and SA officials to work together and eliminate this extra fee so that students can freely pursue their interests, meet their goals and ensure the success of both students and the University.

Michael McMahon, a freshman, is a Hatchet opinions writer. 

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