Fixing the Broken System of Academic Transcript Data

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Students, or anyone who has been a student, have a data problem, and it’s one they may not even know exists. The massive data set of student transcript information in the United States is largely inaccessible to the individuals it is designed to benefit.

While one would assume students have knowledge of by whom, when, and how their transcript and other academic data are being used, this is not always the case. One would think students would have unencumbered access to their transcript data, but today’s system makes it difficult to obtain.

Transcript and other academic data are accumulated in centralized databases. These data are essentially being held hostage, with a distinct lack of transparency and access and potential inaccurate information. The current system is broken and flawed. Now more than ever, we need a progressive model that democratizes access to academic transcript data for the benefit of students, recent grads, and businesses alike.

One key question I want to address is exactly why this lack of transparency, access, and accuracy is causing a problem. Let’s talk numbers. Currently, the organizations involved in the student loan system maintain and control 97% of all data for students who are enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities.

These data include everything from where students are or were enrolled to what their degree(s) is to their GPA. In total, these students number close to 17 million undergrads nationwide in a given year. Given that the database these transcript data are stored in is a decade old, there is a massive trove of this academic information stored out of sight.

Accuracy and Transparency Issues

Not only do these central organizations make accessing academic transcript data difficult, but the reports they issue for students are often error-prone. In the student loan case, these errors can cost students thousands of dollars, as the reports are tied to borrower interest calculations.

Essentially, the next wave of young consumers in our economy are being underserved by a system that lacks transparency, accountability, and accuracy.

Addressing Accessibility

The benefits of enabling access to academic data are vast. On the consumer side, fixing this problem will empower students, allowing them to wield the very data they create for their own well-being…

Source: HR Daily Advisor

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