If you owe the school money or you have defaulted on your student loans, it's common for schools to deny requests for your official academic transcripts.
You do have some rights in this situation. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) gives you a right to inspect your transcripts. This doesn't mean these transcripts have to be "the official transcripts" that other schools, licensing agencies, and employers may require.
What Can I Do to Get My Transcripts?
You can call your state's department of education and ask for advice. Different states have different laws on this issue. Federal law allows schools to withhold official transcripts. But, if the school is part of the state's university system, the department of education may have a policy requiring the school to release your transcripts.
How Can Bankruptcy Help?
The instant you file bankruptcy, the automatic stay stops all collections actions. Since withholding your official academic transcripts because you money to the school is a collection action, most courts require the school to release your official transcript. But, not all courts follow this rule, so it's a good idea to consult with a local bankruptcy attorney on this issue.
A more detailed version of this article has been published here.