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Student seeks advice from wise members..


gregp
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First let me say thanks for having such an informative and helpful site...I have learned a LOT from reading various posts and would appreciate any help you guys can give me!!!:)

Briefly, I am a junior in college in Virginia and this past semester I suffered a series of personal problems (girlfriend of 3 years passed away in car accident, father diagnosed with cancer, and developed anxiety/depression as a result). This is all documented and verifiable, anyways I have received professional help and am hoping to get my life back on track however my college erroneously listed me as out of state for my tuition which taking 3 classes = $10,000 instead of the $3,000 that it should have been. I was distracted during the semester due to my personal issues and now am not able to appeal b/c the semester is over.

So now I have a law firm from South Carolina sending me nasty mail and phone calls attempting to collect this debt. I am not sure whether to call them and deal with the issue or not. I live with my parents, have no job (full time student) and plan on attending a different school in the fall to finish my last 2 years. My only possession is a car that is fully paid (worth about $4,000) and $500 in my bank account. My credit is not great and a negative on my report is not a great concern to me right now. I wouldn't mind paying this off after i graduate and can afford it but right now I need to get my school finished.

Any advice would be most most welcome, thanks so much for taking the time to read my situation!!

Greg

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I would suggest that you try to convince the school fix the problem. Sure, it may not be their policy to change your residency status after the fact, but that doesn't necessarily make it right. Or legal, but that's a bigger fight.

Gather up supporting evidence of your residency, i.e. voter registration card, driver's license, utility bills, etc. If you were a resident for a long time, then really pile it on. Elementary school photos, kindergarten reports, the works.

Then send copies to the Dean of Admissions and the college president along with a formal letter. Explain the situation, and ask them to reconsider their decision and to help you out. I would suggest that you consider having your therapist/counselor write a letter to go along with the package.

You don't have to tell them that you are going to a different school. ;) In fact, I would say that because of this mistake on their part, you are now unable to continue attending at their school, and dealing with considerable legal problems as a result. While you would love to return to the school to finish, bla bla bla.

If this fails, then you could try climbing the ladder...go to the board of directors for that school, or appeal to your state representatives. It might not work, but it won't cost you much to do.

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Thanks mdk for the advice, I will dig up everything and start forming a case tonight. Hopefully they will at least delay the money owed until after I graduate.

Divemedic - yeah its $300/credit for in state and about $800/credit for out of state. ($)800 x 9 (3 classes x 3 credits each) = 7,200. They tacked on a %30 late fee as well as a few other technology fees and so on and the total came to about $11,000.

While Im appealing (on hands and knees..lol) to the school I am a bit worried about what this law firm can do....anyone have any tips on what sort of awful things they might be able to do to me. I thought about DV'ing them but dont want to piss em off. Maybe I should just explain my situation (sobb story) but i dont want that to come back and bite me as an 'admission or whatnot. Hmmm what a mess!

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What MDk2003 said...

I am no expert but how long have you been a virginia resident? Was this your first semester? If you were a continuing student you would have no reason to beleive that they would change your residency status.

Be careful with the collections or money owed to the school. I know that at my alma mata, if you owe money to the school even a library fine you will not be able to get a transcript.

Correction, you can get a transcript but not to be sent to another school only to a job (yes, so that you can work and pay them what you owe) but if you need to transfer credit to another school you may not be able to.

My undergrad is actually about $1150 per credit now it was $900/credit when i was there.

Good luck OP please let us know how it turns out.

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Ouch. Pricey, chilton1. ISU?

I got a large number of my lower classes out of the way by taking CLEP exams. Only $85 a pop and full credit issued. It's a good way to avoid paying a lot -- and spending months in class -- for calculus or (shudder) composition if you already are proficient in the subject. I think they even added a business administration test this year.

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I would write to the president of the college and explain the entire thing!

I did this for my daughter. She dropped out her last semester with this college to join the Army. The student loans charged back a prorated portion of the tuition and the school sent her a bill and then sent it to collections while she was in Iraq.

I told the pres about it and asked if they could pull it back from the CA so that she wouldn't have a bad mark on her credit and then she could pay the school directly. His response? No worries....pulled it back from CA and since we support our troops...balance due is now 0! :mrgreen:

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Ouch. Pricey, chilton1. ISU?

I got a large number of my lower classes out of the way by taking CLEP exams. Only $85 a pop and full credit issued. It's a good way to avoid paying a lot -- and spending months in class -- for calculus or (shudder) composition if you already are proficient in the subject. I think they even added a business administration test this year.

What is ISU? Illinois State University? I went to Columbia University in NY

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What MDk2003 said...

I am no expert but how long have you been a virginia resident? Was this your first semester? If you were a continuing student you would have no reason to beleive that they would change your residency status.

Be careful with the collections or money owed to the school. I know that at my alma mata, if you owe money to the school even a library fine you will not be able to get a transcript.

Correction, you can get a transcript but not to be sent to another school only to a job (yes, so that you can work and pay them what you owe) but if you need to transfer credit to another school you may not be able to.

My undergrad is actually about $1150 per credit now it was $900/credit when i was there.

Good luck OP please let us know how it turns out.

Thanks again everyone for all of the posts, they have been so helpful with advice as well as just giving me support from other people.

Momof5 I hope your daughter is safe and doing well in Iraq, just to update I have prepared a letter for the president as well as a ton of supporting documentation from doctors and evidence of my in state status so hopefully I can update u guys on what happens when I get word from the president.

Chilton I think ISU =in state tuition but not 100% sure. As for the other ?'s I completed a 2 yr degree at a local college and really dont need a transcript from this school to transfer b/c I just started here this past spring....so transitioning to another school to finish my last 2 years wont be a problem in that respect. I was a Virginia student my whole life except for a "temporary out of state stay" from last August -early December (visiting my father who lives down there). Anyways this makes the matter more complicated which I hoped to avoid in the first post..lol it was complicated enough already! $900/credit good grief!!

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Thanks again everyone for all of the posts, they have been so helpful with advice as well as just giving me support from other people.

Momof5 I hope your daughter is safe and doing well in Iraq, just to update I have prepared a letter for the president as well as a ton of supporting documentation from doctors and evidence of my in state status so hopefully I can update u guys on what happens when I get word from the president.

Chilton I think ISU =in state tuition but not 100% sure. As for the other ?'s I completed a 2 yr degree at a local college and really dont need a transcript from this school to transfer b/c I just started here this past spring....so transitioning to another school to finish my last 2 years wont be a problem in that respect. I was a Virginia student my whole life except for a "temporary out of state stay" from last August -early December (visiting my father who lives down there). Anyways this makes the matter more complicated which I hoped to avoid in the first post..lol it was complicated enough already! $900/credit good grief!!

Ok, Greg then that seems simple enough. You have always been a Virginia resident and then the mistake is not yours. Send those letters off call the Financial aid office and get it taken care of soon. No I am no expert but I dont thing a vacation changes your residency status.

If that is what ISU means, then no, it is a private school no in and out of state tuition. Everyone pays the same.

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