Official electronic transcripts are now available through the Office of the Registrar's website. A development initially slated for last spring, the electronic option did not become available until Aug. 1 due to a number of other Banner-related projects the registrar was working on, said Lisa Mather, associate registrar for operations management, though she declined to comment on what specifically those projects entailed. She also cited the logistics of orchestrating the "technological setup" between the University and the vendor, National Student Clearinghouse, for the holdup. The Clearinghouse also handles the paper transcript option, which is still available.
"(The electronic transcript option) has been a student request for a very long time," Mather said, adding that the option has allowed Brown to "catch up" to peer institutions, such as Duke University and other Ivy League schools. Mather said the University did not notify students through advertising because the option is listed clearly when students go to order transcripts through the Registrar's website. The electronic option accounted for 30 percent of transcript orders in the first month it was available, wrote Robert Fitzgerald, University registrar, in an email to The Herald. Students have made most of the orders so far, sending the documents to themselves or to other universities.
The base price of a paper transcript is $4 , and there is a processing charge of $2.25 per recipient. The electronic transcripts cost an additional $1.75. The surcharge is for the additional protection that must be put in place to ensure the authenticity and security of official digital documents, Mather said.
The security measures include a 30-day limitation for accessing the transcript, which must be done by entering a recipient-specific username and password, Mather said. Designated recipients are sent reminder emails to retrieve the transcript before the access expires. Blue ribbon security signifies that a transcript is unadulterated, she said.
The service is working out well so far, Mather said, though some students have ordered their electronic transcript only to find out that their intended recipient does not accept them.
"Turnaround for the (electronic) service is much faster," Mather said, taking one day as compared to three days for paper transcripts. The expedience of electronic transcripts makes the service "quite a bargain," she added.
Shivang Desai '14, who ordered a paper transcript for a summer internship when he was a first-year, said he had not heard of the electronic alternative, but that the offering would assuage concerns about the transcript getting lost in the mail. The electronic option will make applying for opportunities with tight deadlines more feasible, he said, adding that if he did not have time constraints for applications, he would forgo the additional cost of the electronic version.
Rob Rozansky '14 ordered a paper transcript online and picked it up in person last year. Though he was not aware of the new offering, he said he would be interesting in using it.
"An extra $2 wouldn't really deter me," he said, adding that his previous experience of getting the transcript in person was "a little bit of a hassle." This option sounds "a lot easier and more convenient," he said.