BPS transcript delays cost college enrollment for some

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Buffalo Public School graduates who want to move on to college or a job are being stopped in their tracks because they have to wait for a document as important as their diploma.

Former students are experiencing extremely long delays for their transcripts.

For comparison, at the Niagara Falls School District, you can get an official transcript the same day you ask for it. Over in Rochester, it takes two days. But at Buffalo Public Schools, it takes at least five weeks to receive your transcript – and that’s stopping some people from getting into college.

For the last six years, Nate Johnson has been a barista at Buffalo Roasting Company downtown. But he has dream.

“My dream – what I’d love to do – is become a nurse. Be able to help people,” Johnson said.

This summer, he decided that now is the time. He applied and was accepted to Erie Community College. All they need now is his high school transcript. And that’s where Johnson ran into a very big problem.

“Honestly, I kind of expected to be able to walk in, have them either hand it right over to me or have a couple days,” he said.

But the Buffalo Public Schools Attendance Office told Johnson it would take six weeks, which won’t allow him to start school until September 2.

One position in the office was removed in June 2013, leaving three workers to fill 500 transcript requests each month. Even though 95 percent of the transcripts are now digitized, the office manager says they can’t keep up and are running five weeks behind.

Even Assoc. Superintendent Dr. Will Keresztes admits the transcript backup is a huge problem.

“You know these are folks who need these documents so they can open a new chapter in their lives, either starting college later in life or starting a second career, and they need us to be a lot more responsive when it comes to getting these documents,” he said.

Erik D’Aquino, the Assoc. VP of Enrollment Management at ECC, said this was not a problem in past years. But this summer, he has heard from about a dozen students who have run into the same problem.

“They go through the entire process, and all the sudden they’re held up by something that’s out of their control,” D’Aquino said.

But he has good news for Johnson. If Johnson brings his diploma to an admissions counselor, he’ll be able to start the semester.

But not everyone has their diploma handy and Johnson wants doesn’t want this roadblock to stop anyone from pursuing their dreams.

“It’s very deterring. It can easily make one stop and not want to pursue something like that. So that’s a very sad idea,” Johnson said.

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