Closed school and inability to provide transcripts

A couple decades ago I attended and graduated from a school that is now closed.

I didn’t really need to prove my education from this institution because it wasn’t applicable to anything I have done recently in relationship to a career. I have moved to a different state, had a family and attended school again for an entirely different area of study and only recently did I think about obtaining the transcripts from the first school.

The school I attended way back when was called Patricia Stevens Career College, and it was a business/trade program that offered certificates and AAs in Public Relations, legal and executive secretary, fashion merchandising and I think possibly paralegal and things to do with travel and hospitality. Not totally positive because there were several locations and not all were exactly alike. I attended the Milwaukee campus and was a fashion merch major and minor in interior design. Later after I graduated the school merged with another similar school (Davenport/Detroit College) and then shortly after became The Milwaukee College of Business. Then in 1993 the school closed completely, after about 50 yrs in existence. To my knowledge after the owner passed away, there was no one to continue the program, which had changed to non-profit status in the 70’s, and according to the EAB (Educational Approval Board) in Wisconsin, he took possession of the academic records and to the best of the knowledge, except for a very limited amount of records from 91-93 (right after I left) all records were destroyed.

The EAB did their best to attempt to locate my records under all school names that could have had them, but after several months they came to the conclusion they didn’t have them anywhere. They had asked me to come up with as much evidence of my attendance I could find, and I sent them random things I still had somewhere after tearing things apart at home. Some of which I had was a letter of acceptance, some financial aid information (I received and paid off a student loan), a couple actual assignments and a syllabus, a clipping from my hometown newspaper announcing me being on the Dean’s list, and a list of the courses I took based on the transcripts and catalog from around that era. Since that time I was able to even track down the dean of academic affairs from that time, and she remembers me, as I was heavily involved in clubs and fashion show production at that time and after I left. I am going to ask her to write me a letter.

So the EAB gave me a letter that basically explains that even though they believe I attended the school, they have no access to transcripts, nor do they believe anyone else does. They explain in detail what the school offered and when it was in operation and why the EAB doesn’t have them (that no provision was made for their storage and usual proxy after the owner died and the likelihood that they were destroyed.) At the end they state in bold that “any records will have to come from the student’s personal records.”

This is a bit disheartening, as I paid thousands for a school I cannot prove I graduated from. I later went to school for Early Childhood Education, and have been a teacher and and administrator in a private program for 16 yrs. I attended school when an AA in Early Ed was all that was needed for teaching preschool, but that is changing and I want to return to school. When speaking to a counselor at the school I was considering they told me classes such as Business writing, Merchandising Math, Textiles, and Accounting I, would be degree applicable, but there is no way I can obtain an official sealed transcript. There is a school in St. Louis which is an offshoot of Patricia Stevens called Stevens Institute of Business (www.siba.edu) that offers a fashion merchandising AA degree that has basically the same course requirements that I had except for the fact there are more technology based courses that were not in existence back when I took my classes. Save for this, it is essentially the same exact course of study. They do not however have our records either, as each campus in each separate city/state had their own governance and records.

Off the record the person I was in close contact with at the EAB told me that depending on my reputation and relationships with people, there would be no reason for them not to believe me putting this on resumes or stating it when job seeking, as it is not like I am trying to say I have an MA in poli science from USC or Harvard, I’m trying to say I have an AA from a small trade/business school. But the problem more lies with me being able to use classes to transfer. I am very credible in my community, I was the Teacher of the Year in LA County in 2011, the grad speaker at my community college alum school, and I am a well known presenter in early childhood at a state and national level.

Is there anything at all I can do after this?! Is it ever at all possible for a small private 4 yr college/grad school to accept an unofficial transcript? Is is wrong to include this on a resume when there is no one to really contact, or can I show my dossier of items I procured as proof of attendance, like the EAB states in their letter?

Thanks in advance for any help or answers.

Try the national student clearinghouse

Thank you, I will check it out.

Unfortunately I checked out the student clearinghouse and no luck, not a listed school.

I don’t know how much I can offer to this post, but I also have attended a school that was closed. I was a student at Brooks Institute and they recently closed. Fortunately, the transcripts were handed over to Parchment for distribution at the student’s request. It really doesn’t matter though, because Brooks was never accreditated by the correct organizations that transfer to any real colleges. If you completed the program at Brooks, you would come out with a BA in Photography, by the way. Due to a family illness, I had to drop out during my second year…

So while the colleges I applied to asked for my transcripts from Brooks, once they open them, they realize that nothing is transferrable and it doesn’t really matter. I still had to retake courses that I previously had done at Brooks in order to get any real credit. I mean, I spent 2 years at a photography school and I had to retake gen ed art classes for credit! (That was the lamest part in my experience. lol)

The point of my post, as disheartening as it is to hear, is maybe the courses you took at PSCC were not accreditated by the proper agencies, and thus, don’t matter? I know my EOPS counselor had a book of all the colleges and what accreditation they hold. If the accreditation doesn’t match the school you’re applying to, it doesn’t count.

Hopefully, my post is helpful. I wish you luck! :slight_smile:

I remember the Patricia Stevens Career College. It sounds like you have done an amazing job of trying to track down your records.

I also have the same impression that the above poster has about the likelihood that the courses you took at Patricia Stevens would be very transferrable to your BA/BS degree. Given that you later went on to get an AA degree, what you need now are specific courses and not so many gen eds. If you decide to major in business, for example, you would take a math placement test and then take the courses you would need for the degree. And you would probably need to retake accounting if it is a pre-req for additional courses. And if you decided to major in education or psychology, for example, accounting wouldn’t be helpful there either except as an elective and you probably would be getting some electives credits from your AA degree.
My sister went to a 2 year tech school to get an office type degree (like bookkeeping) and she was surprised later at how few of her courses were going to count toward a 4 year degree when she took her transcript to an advisor at a four year college.

@Jexner yes, I do think that Brooks had many similarities to Patricia Stevens. PS was accredited by NATTS, which is now ACCSC, and I have actually heard of people being able to transfer some classes, which is what made me actually go back and see if I could obtain the transcripts. It was some of the classes that I mentioned in the above statement like accounting, math merchandising, business/fashion writing, and the non-textiles course. For people who took some of the other degree or certificate courses they had some things that also worked which were basically more writing courses. I am sure my transcripts do exist somewhere in a dusty box at my parents’ home, along with the diploma but even if I do access them myself, they will never be “official” transcripts so I guess there isn’t much I can do except put it on my resume if it ever is relevant. I think with the letter that the educational board sent me I doubt anyone would question the fact that it is a valid degree, but getting the courses to transfer anywhere else I’m sure will be another story. Thanks for your response!