On Thursday, the Obama administration announced that students will have to go through an additional three-month waiting period before they can access their transcripts online.
The policy, which the White House said was a response to a spike in “fraudulent applications” that have come to light in the last few months, was announced on Twitter by the Office of Personnel Management.
Students with “limited access” to their transcripts can now apply to college online, but only to colleges with a “clear and consistent” verification process.
Students are allowed to submit “limited number of applications” at a time, which is a “minimum” of 3,000 for the fall semester and up to 6,000 the spring semester.
If you have questions about this new policy, the Department of Education’s website is full of FAQs, which can be found here.
This is not the first time the Obama Administration has introduced new requirements to address the fraudulent applications crisis.
In February, the Administration unveiled a new program for the Federal Trade Commission to oversee the “unlawful online distribution of fraudulent, deceptive, or deceptive trade secrets.”
The program aims to crack down on “any person or entity that knowingly distributes, disseminates, sells, or offers for sale false, fictitious, or misleading information or materials” to consumers in order to sell their products.
The program was also announced to be expanding to cover students, who have had “limited” access to their college transcripts for years.
The new guidelines come amid a wave of recent data breaches affecting more than 4 million students, many of whom are from low-income families.
On Thursday night, a report by The Wall Street Journal found that some 4.6 million of the roughly 14 million students who received a final grade on the SAT, ACT, and other tests between January 1 and March 31 were potentially affected.
While some colleges and universities have since rolled out a number of measures to combat the problem, such as making the SAT optional, the administration has been slow to make its own reforms.
In fact, the new guidelines are likely to be the first official action taken by the White and Clinton administrations to address what has been a widespread problem in the wake of the recent breaches.
The president’s policy is the latest attempt to shore up college admissions, but it is still unclear whether the new requirements will actually help to deter fraud.
For now, some students are still waiting for their transcripts to be approved by the colleges they attended.
The New York Times’ Rachel Biddle wrote that students with “fewer resources and fewer access to resources” are “waiting for a chance to get an official confirmation from their colleges, but they can’t yet.
They’ve already waited nearly a year, waiting to see if they can even get the confirmation that they need to graduate.”