Student loans can either be public or private, but to my knowledge the University of Arizona is not a financial institution which makes student loans. I would inquire further about the nature of the debt to the University of Arizona. Student loans are very difficult to discharge in a bankruptcy, but unpaid tuition, fees, unpaid bills at the student book exchange, and related fees are. Review this with an attorney before you file. I have successfully gotten a local university to release my client's transcripts in a similar situation.
I am not your attorney unless you and I have signed a retainer agreement. What I am saying is not legal advice. Do not act on this information without engaging my services, this is for consideration only.
That is an interesting question. What the school is saying is that you owe them money and until you pay they are not going to release your transcripts because that is part of the fee you owe. I don't think a BK is going to force them to release the information, it might just make it so they cannot collect against you. The two issues are not conditioned upon the other. It is a good issue though. In 26 years of practice no one has asked this question. As far as the loans are concerned, student loans are generally not dischargable in bankruptcy so even if you filed that might not releave you of the debt.
I agree with the other answers that the debt may not be dischargeable in bankruptcy, but you must first determine exactly what is owed and why the UofA has placed the financial hold. I suggest meeting with a member of the Bursar's Office in person. I think they take walk in appointments, or you can call them at (520) 621-3232. Get a copy of the documentation for the financial hold. They also should be helpful in telling you if they know of any other options to get your transcript released. Good luck.
The above "answer" is for discussion purposes only and is neither intended as legal advice nor to create an attorney-client relationship. An attorney-client relationship is not created until after an in person consultation and I agree in writing to provide representation. I am licensed solely in the state of Arizona. You should consult with a knowledgeable attorney in your jurisdiction.