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Transcripts for students, alumni now free

REGION — Students in the San Dieguito Union High School District who used to spend money on fees for obtaining official transcripts are getting some relief.

The school district recently announced that students and alumni can obtain transcripts free of charge as part of a uniform district-wide policy.

Previously, transcript policies varied on each campus. San Dieguito High, for example, did not charge for transcripts. Torrey Pines, however, charged $5 for students to obtain transcripts.

At other campuses, students and alumni could obtain the first two transcripts for free, but paid a fee for the subsequent transcript requests.

“There wasn’t any consistency from campus to campus,” said Rick Grove, the district’s associate superintendent of educational services. “We had parents ask a very valid question as to why there wasn’t any consistency with the transcript policy and after review, we decided this would be the best way to go.”

The state’s constitution allows for schools to charge students only for the direct cost associated with providing a copy of the transcript.

Grove said he believed the fees that were being charged were not violating the law.

He said he believed each of the schools had enacted varying policies as a result of budget cuts and an increased amount of workload associated with producing transcripts.

“I think what you saw was that over time, students have gone from applying to maybe a handful of colleges to as many as 20 or 30 colleges, and some of the staff were feeling overwhelmed, especially in the light of budget cuts,” Grove said.

Grove said he believes making all transcript requests free will alleviate staff from having to keep count of the number of requests an individual student has made, which can be burdensome given the number of students asking for copies.

“The staff time associated with keeping count could be better used elsewhere,” he said.

Students and alumni wishing to obtain free official transcripts must order them on campus.

Alumni who purchase transcripts through the district’s contract third-party transcript provider Parchment can purchase the first two copies for free, but will be assessed a fee for subsequent ones.

Unofficial transcripts are free of charge both on campus and through Parchment, Grove said.