Secure National Student Clearinghouse Server Makes Technology Possible

By Russell Thayer

The convenience of ordering a transcript online and having it delivered digitally is now a reality for MNU students and alumni. According to MNU registrar James Garrison (‘90), the work of his office to make electronic transcript ordering and delivery a reality has paid off for the Pioneers in ways that will save the community valuable time.

One of the most attractive benefits of the service, according to Garrison, is the convenience of not having to visit the Registrar’s Office in order to pick up a paper copy or fax a request form to have it mailed. If a student or alumnus needs a transcript sent to another authorized institution that participates in the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) program, a certified digital copy in the form of a protected PDF can be made available through their secure server regardless of the time or day. For those institutions that are not part of NSC’s exchange program, an electronic transcript can still be safely retrieved, as long as the recipient has Internet access. According to MNU’s official transcript ordering page (located under the “resources” tab on MNU’s main website), most requests are processed within one hour, providing the form is completed correctly and the system is not experiencing a high volume of requests.

The completion of this project is the final stage in what Garrison described as “a long journey” in implementing a variety of cutting edge financial and degree verification services offered by the NSC. According to the NSC website, the organization is nonprofit and has served the higher education community as a non-advocacy third-party agent for more than 20 years.

“It’s a great resource, and a great relationship with the NSC,” Garrison said. “This is the pinnacle; the last step along the way.”

For those still wanting to mail or pick up a paper transcript, Garrison said those requests will always be honored, although he sees them becoming less common as the digital option gains popularity.

“We still allow for holding a paper transcript,” Garrison said. “However, close to half our students—maybe in the 40 percent range—have decided to send it electronically in the past month, and that’s a very good thing. It’s very fast, and helps the students and alums in so many ways.”For those still wanting to mail or pick up a paper transcript, Garrison said those requests will always be honored, although he sees them becoming less and less common as the digital option gains popularity.

For the Office of the Registrar, the work is still not complete. Garrison said the data exchange process with the NSC is still underway, and the system will require regular troubleshooting and maintenance as it grows in popularity.

“There’s more behind the scenes that we have to do,” Garrison said, “but we are willing to do the work for the convenience of our students and alumni. And, to bring us current technologically that’s a huge part of what MNU should be about.”