Students at the State University of New York will be able to access their transcripts despite having outstanding balances on their accounts under a new policy announced Tuesday by the Board of Trustees and Gov. Kathy Hochul. 

The move comes after Hochul this month announced in her State of the State plans to end the policy for higher education institutions in New York through legislation. 

"Education is key to unlocking opportunity and to help New Yorkers succeed, we need to eliminate punitive barriers to opportunity like transcript withholding," Hochul said. "This is a matter of common sense. New Yorkers will not be able to climb the ladder of success and get out of debt if their financial challenges prevent them from accessing those opportunities. While I am proud that SUNY students will no longer have their transcripts held hostage, all students deserve the same protections. We must pass legislation to end this unjust practice for all New York students once and for all."

About half of SUNY students graduate debt free. But those who do not have an outstanding balance of about $3,500 on average and 19,000 students still owed their campus as of 2020. 

The action by SUNY officials on Tuesday will allow those students with outstanding balances to re-enroll in campus, transfer credits, complete degrees or obtain jobs. The City University of New York previously announced it would temporarily suspend the practice of withholding transcripts for those who still owed money in August. 

SUNY officials also plan to review all debt collection practices and make e potential rule changes as a result. 

"Students come to SUNY for an excellent and affordable college education, often making personal sacrifices along the way in order to reach the career of their dreams," said Deborah Stanley, the interim chancellor for the SUNY system. "To come so far only to be held back by unpaid fees and fines is simply unfair to our students."