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Under the Federal Educational Records Privacy Act, the school cannot withhold records from a student, but the law does not prevent the school from providing official records when payment is owed to them. Thus, they do not legally have to send an official transcript to anyone if money is due, but under FERPA they have to provide her or her legal guardian an unofficial copy. You would have to explain to the new school the problem and if the old school will not provide the unofficial transcript under FERPA then you would file a complaint with the Department of Education. PA Code, BEC 22 Pa. Code §12.31, provides
If a private school withholds academic records or refuses to issue an official transcript, public school administrators may seek and accept information that appears reliable for student placement as proof of successfully completed coursework. Sources of reliable information may be report cards or sworn affidavits of private school teachers.
If reliable information cannot be obtained, the principal in consultation with the appropriate teacher(s) should evaluate the student promptly and determine the appropriate grade and/or courses for that student. The evaluation should consist of an interview and demonstration of the degree to which the student has achieved the academic standards of the Department of Education and the school district as required in 22 Pa. Code §4.12 and §4.13.
I am afraid that is all the law actually provides for.
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