Securing My Academic Transcript

I just ordered several transcripts from my university, which I will need to distribute to several organizations, for different reasons. If the transcript seal is broken, the transcript is no longer official.
As you’re probably aware, transcripts come in sealed envelopes. If the envelope seal is broken, the transcript is no longer “official.”

Most organizations I send transcripts to have no need for my Social Security Number. I can easily give them my SSN if the require it for legitimate reasons, such as tax purposes. So, I decided to break the seal, and remove my SSN from all but one of my transcripts, with a razor blade. I’ve found that black marker just doesn’t do the trick. Besides, this really gets the point acrossI removed my SSN from the transcript with a razor blade..

I re-sealed the envelope, and enclosed the following letter:

To Whom It May Concern:

At the advice of state and federal officials and numerous experts, and because of the extreme risks associated with disseminating my Social Security Number, I have removed my SSN from this document. Though I recognize that breaking the envelope seal transformed this transcript from an “official” to “unofficial” transcript, I certify that I have made no other changes to the document.

George Washington University refused my request to remove my Social Security Number from the transcript. George Washington University is one of a small minority of nationally ranked universities that do not allow students the protection of withholding Social Security Numbers from transcripts or other official university documents. I am told they plan to change their policy in the near future.

Countless states Attorneys General have issued warnings similar to the Washington, D.C. Attorney General, “avoid providing your social security number or other personal information to prospective employers [or other organizations] until you have verified the legitimacy of the organization and their need to verify your background.” A few states have even outlawed placing the Social Security Number on transcripts and other academic documents altogether.

I regret that I must resort to these measures to ensure the protection of myself and my family.

If this organization requires my Social Security Number for legitimate tax or background check purposes, I will be pleased to provide the information in the future. However, as this date, I am not aware of any such requirement.

Do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.


Aaron Titus

I’ll let you know how it goes.

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