The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Tuesday October 4th

Q&A with campus registrar

The Office of the University Registrar is tasked with processing transcript requests for the entire campus — an undertaking that requires tedious attention to detail.

Staff writer Haley Waxman sat down with administrators in the office to find out what goes on behind the scenes.

How long does it take to process a transcript?

Students should order a transcript up to 10 business days in advance, but it usually takes only three to five business days, said Chris Derickson, assistant provost and University registrar.

Why the wait?

Submitting a request at a particularly busy time can affect processing time. Peak times typically occur at the end of each semester. During those times, the office can process about 2,000 requests a week, Derickson said.

He said if a record exists for a student or alumnus prior to 2010, which is when ConnectCarolina was implemented, the office has to manually check every single piece of data on the record.

Derickson said the office recently processed a request that spanned three different record-keeping systems. When this is the case, he said, there is a higher chance of error when converting the data from system to system.

Roberta Norwood, associate University registrar of registration and scheduling, said the office works hard to eliminate errors.

“Our mission is that no transcript goes out less than 100 percent (accurate),” she said.

How are transcripts validated?

Joe Bray, who worked for Information Technology Services for 30 years, was hired as a temporary employee to take on validation.

He manually evaluates every request prior to 2010 with a ruler, going line by line to look for discrepancies.

Bray can comb through 15 transcripts in an hour, completing about 90 to 100 a day.

Even with his speed, he said, “Accuracy has to win.”

How much does it cost to order a transcript, and why?

There is a fee of $7 per transcript and a $2.25 fee per order from the National Student Clearinghouse.

“With NSC as a partner, the process is much more efficient and secure,” Derickson said.

When sending transcripts between on-campus offices, such as to the Kenan-Flagler Business School, the $7 fee is waived, but the clearinghouse fee is still in place.

How is the transition to electronic transcripts going?

Through its partnership with the clearinghouse, the registrar’s office will soon be making the move to electronic transcripts.

Once the electronic processing is in place — which administrators hope will happen within the next academic year — 20 to 40 percent of requests can be processed automatically.

Derickson said a benefit of electronic transcripts is eliminating the unknown variable of mail, which is not always dependable.

The office is working on validating identities with online ordering as the final step.

Derickson said security and accuracy are the primary goals of the emerging electronic process.

What can students do if they wait too long to order?

Heather Duncan, assistant registrar for registration, said students often don’t realize that they don’t always need an official transcript. There is an option to print an internal transcript from ConnectCarolina.

What can students do if the intended recipients never received their transcript?

If the office gets a complaint that a transcript wasn’t received, it will automatically send another copy at no charge, Derickson said.

Contact the desk editor at university@dailytarheel.com

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