SGA to offer 175 transcript vouchers through program

Taylor Harrison

Students applying to graduate schools, jobs or internships will now have the chance to save a few bucks on copies of their academic transcripts.

Official transcripts are currently $7 each. Student Government Association has set aside $1,225 in general Senate funding for transcript vouchers. Students will be allowed up to two vouchers — or two free copies of their transcript — each. There will be 175 vouchers available this semester.

SGA members worked with the Office of the Registrar — where students purchase transcripts — to get the transcript voucher pilot program started.

Registrar Freida Eggleton said SGA worked with their office to ensure a smooth implementation.

“I think it’s a wonderful service that SGA is providing to the students,” Eggleton said.

Cory Dodds, director of Information Technology for SGA and an author on the bill, said he hopes the program will become an SGA staple, like the free Scantrons and blue books they currently give out.

“Speaking personally, I think it’s ridiculous that we pay every semester, and we have to turn around and pay for academic records in the form of a transcript,” Dodds said.

Dodds said he’d like to look into removing the transcript fees altogether.

Eggleton said the removal of the fee would be a budgetary concern because there are expenses to the university for issuing transcripts.

For the 2010-2011 school year, the total income from transcripts was $184,725. Only a small portion of this goes to the Office of the Registrar, Eggleton said. The rest goes into the university general fund.

SGA Executive Vice President Kendrick Bryan said the price for transcripts has risen since he started at WKU in 2005 and doesn’t think the fee will likely be removed.

The fee rose in February 2009 to $7 overall. Before that, it was $4 for a transcript and $6 for immediate service. Most requests are processed within 24 hours.

“I think it’s always a goal for students to end fees,” Bryan said. “Do I see it happening? No. But it is always the goal.”

Natalie Broderick, SGA Student Affairs committee head and co-author of the bill, said SGA plans to keep the program going for as long as possible.

“I think it’s probably one of the most beneficial things that we could do for the students because no matter what degree or major you have, at some point you will need transcripts,” Broderick said.

Travis Taylor, director of academic and student affairs for SGA, said the program is important because it offsets student costs. While a transcript is only $7, the costs can add up if a student is applying for multiple schools or jobs.

SGA worked on the program last semester but didn’t implement it until now because of budgetary issues, difficulty setting up meetings and just trying to figure out a game plan, Taylor said.

“We wanted to make sure we could make the most successful program that we can,” he said. “And we don’t want to waste student money on a program that would fail.”

SGA gets funding from student tuition, particularly from a fee called a Student Activities Fee. This is divided between SGA and Campus Activities Board. CAB receives a larger allotment, Bryan said.

“SGA is a major advocate of career readiness and preparing students for life after college,” he said. “I think that shows through our scholar development and scholarship efforts, and I think any time we can alleviate the fees, you’re showing you’re committed to, you know, addressing a problem.”