Registrars: Transcripts Can Cite Disciplinary Actions

February 24, 2016

Disciplinary actions typically are not included on students' academic transcripts. And since 1996, the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) has said recording violations such as harassment, sexual misconduct, substance abuse or plagiarism on a transcript is not a recommended best practice. That stance has changed, however, the group said last week.

Colleges are feeling more pressure to include misbehavior and academic infractions on transcripts, the registrars' group said, citing recent campus violence as a primary driver. They also are feeling spurred to screen incoming students through the admissions process by asking questions about encounters with law enforcement, even if there was no conviction.

"With 23 shootings on college campuses in 2015 alone," the group said in a written statement, "public opinion on the notation of disciplinary action on transcripts is changing and changing fast."

Those practices remain far from the norm in higher education, however. Fully 95 percent of institutions said academic transcripts do not reflect students' probationary status for behavioral reasons, the group found in a recent survey. And 85 percent said their institution's academic transcripts do not reflect students' ineligibility due to major violations.

Yet two states -- New York and Virginia -- recently have passed legislation that requires the notation of disciplinary actions on transcripts, the group said, adding that federal action is possible.

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