RPS transcript issues putting student’s collegiate career in limbo

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'If they lose all these scholarships they'll have a big mess on their hands'

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — 8News is investigating why a recent Richmond Public Schools graduate can’t sign up for college classes.

Jacob Heinrich said Randolph-Macon College has not received his official transcript from RPS, putting his future in jeopardy.

8News has been following the problems with RPS transcripts for over year after the state found problems dating back to 2015.

RELATED: Controversy surrounding RPS audit, transcripts concerns parents about graduation

“We’re committed to fixing all senior transcripts by February 1,” Superintendent Jason Kamras said in a message to RPS families.

However, by the end of May RPS had reviewed transcripts 8 times and was still finding problems.

In June the administration said they were checking them a final time. Heinrich is still wondering when his college will receive his final transcript.

RELATED: RPS counselors claim being unfairly blamed for transcript scandal led to firing

Heinrich graduated from Armstrong High School last month. When he walked across the stage he not only earned his diploma but also had the chance to show off some major hardware.

“I completed four years of the Governor’s STEM Academy at the Richmond Technical Center,” Heinrich said.

Jacob said he received almost $10,000 dollars in scholarships from Randolph-Macon College. He plans on studying physics.

Last weekend he received a call from the college.

“That they needed my transcript by the middle of this week. So I went to the school and asked them how to send my transcript to them,” Jacob said. “And they said they can’t release transcripts until the downtown office says they’re ready to be released. That probably won’t happen until sometime in August.”

8News spoke with the Vice President of Enrollment and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, David Lesesne.

Lesesne said that the college requires a final transcript for all incoming students to show to the school’s accreditor. He said it’s to show proof that the student graduated from high school.

The delay of the official transcript is putting Jacob’s scholarship and student status in limbo.

“I would have to take out the full tuition in loans and I could never pay it back,” Jacob said.

Jacob said he was never notified of any potential issues or delays with his transcript.

“Kind of a big drop to get hit with, a lot of emotions,” Jacob said.

RPS Chief of Staff Michelle Hudacsko told 8News that the transcript division will be uploaded once the Virginia Department of Education completes a final review.

RELATED: Hundreds of RPS students may graduate late due to errors found during transcript review

In the past, RPS said they uploaded transcripts in a batch, the whole division, into the transcript database called Parchment. The database was were colleges could confirm something was official.

This year because RPS is working with VDOE to ensure transcript issues don’t occur, they are not being uploaded that way at this stage of the summer.

Hudacsko said they will be uploaded a couple of weeks once they formally complete all stages of their transcript work with VDOE.

She suspects that will happen by the end of July or early August. Principles and counselors were notified, she added.

RPS said any student who needs a transcript for college or scholarships should reach out to their principal or counselor, who can get it uploaded into Parchment.

“The transcript in question is with the school that needed it,” Hudacsko said.

RPS also said they were in touch with Jacob’s family but the family said they haven’t heard anything.

“Me and my wife can’t afford college,” Jamie Heinrich said. “We have a budgeted income. The scholarships if he loses those it’s I don’t know what we’ll do.”

Heinrich said RPS should place his child’s transcript and any other transcripts for any other children where they need to be placed, that way they don’t lose what they’ve worked years for.

RELATED: RPS uncovers years of inflated graduation rates

“It would be a shame to see these children lose everything they worked all these years for and all the extra work they’ve put into the school,” Heinrich said. “It’s not their fault. If they lose all these scholarships they’ll have a big mess on their hands.”

Randolph Macon told 8News as they wait for Jacob’s final transcript they will be accepting his unofficial transcript. That way Jacob can sign up for classes and receive his financial aid package.

They said they don’t want to put him at a disadvantage but there is still a process the college has to follow.

Stay with 8News for updates on this story and RPS transcript developments.

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