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Unpaid Tuition (Not Student Loan) Gone to Lawsuit Collections


Rob3
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My question involves collection proceedings in the State of: Ohio

Hello! Thank you to anyone for any help and/or clarification.

I received a letter from a law office in Ohio (my state of residency) advising that my file has been place in their office. The letter advises that no lawsuit has been filed YET.

I have an outstanding balance from an Ohio public college from approximately 8 years ago. This was not a student loan, it is tuition that I did not pay. The law office says that I owe about $5,000 which includes interest.

A couple of years ago, I received a call from the Ohio Attorney General's office and I made monthly payments. I did not have much money, but I was scared because it was Attorney General. After a year of payments, they called to update the payment plan and the balance had hardly moved. They said it was due to interest.


I am very worried about a lawsuit and do not want this on my record. I am pursuing a career in the auto insurance industry and any lawsuits would show up when the company searches my info. Even if this was settled, once a lawsuit is filed, it will come up whenever anyone googles my name. They have not filed the lawsuit yet, but the guy on the phone said he is marking my refusal to pay and this could result in a lawsuit brought against me my his law firm (which is in my city). I dont know how much time I have and I am very scared. I have not been able to sleep well for the past few nights and am constantly breaking down and crying. I do not know who to ask for help because I am so embarrassed. I finally thought to seek online assistance and have been trying to research this for the past 5 hours online.

I need to save up money to pay. Does anyone recommend that I pay the full amount or can i pay a negotiated rate? If a pay a lower amount, what type of documentation should I request so that they do not sell the remaining balance to another creditor.

I thought unpaid tuition cleared in Ohio after 7 years. But I do not know if my 2016 payments re-set the calendar.

Thank you!

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Because the debt is owed directly to the institution, and was not a student loan, the debt is in fact subject to a 6-year SOL. You said the default was 8 years ago. What date exactly did you default, and when exactly did you start making payments again? If the SOL had run before you started making payments again,  I'm not certain, but it's likely you did not reset the SOL. But the exact dates here are important because of the 6-year SOL.

Sidebar, since when do public attorneys general act as debt collectors?

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I think I messed up and started making payment right before the 6 year mark so it probably reset the SOL (I dont even know how to look it up).  I just started receiving calls from the Ohio Attorney General's office, which seemed very scary.  When they advised that it could go to court, I set up a payment plan immediately.  But then my job situation changed and when the yearly renewal of payment plan came up, I could not set up a new one.  I owed about $3,000 at that time.  Now the amount is about $5,000 due to the interest.  And they collections transferred to this law office.

Does anyone know how I can look up this info?  I have not save any paperwork (my bad and lesson learned going forward).

I'm not sure about the public attorney, but I am assuming it is because the outstanding debt is owed to the State of Ohio because it is a public university.

 

Thank you for your reply. 

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3 hours ago, Harry Seaward said:

Because the debt is owed directly to the institution, and was not a student loan, the debt is in fact subject to a 6-year SOL. You said the default was 8 years ago. What date exactly did you default, and when exactly did you start making payments again? If the SOL had run before you started making payments again,  I'm not certain, but it's likely you did not reset the SOL. But the exact dates here are important because of the 6-year SOL.

Sidebar, since when do public attorneys general act as debt collectors?

Why 6 years instead of 8?   Wouldn't there be a written contract?

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2 minutes ago, Harry Seaward said:

Everything I find says Ohio SOL is 6 years regardless of the type of debt.

Here's the OH Codes:

2305.06 Contract in writing.

Except as provided in sections 126.301 and 1302.98 of the Revised Code, an action upon a specialty or an agreement, contract, or promise in writing shall be brought within eight years after the cause of action accrued.

 

2305.07 Contract not in writing - statutory liability.

Except as provided in sections 126.301 and 1302.98 of the Revised Code, an action upon a contract not in writing, express or implied, or upon a liability created by statute other than a forfeiture or penalty, shall be brought within six years after the cause thereof accrued.

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That must be a somewhat recent change.  The first two hits on this Google search ssy say 6 regardless of type. 

https://www.google.com/search?client=ms-android-verizon&ei=p2ogW9OTLIHCsQWPnqbwAw&q=ohio+statute+of+limitations+debt&oq=ohio+statute+of+limitations+debt&gs_l=mobile-gws-wiz-serp.3..0j0i22i30l4.4258.4929..6134...0....151.293.0j2......0....1.........0i71j0i67.Hyp2ewu4XZo%3D

(Full disclosure, I only read the first two links but the 'relevant' page text that came up in the Google search list didn't contradict the six-year SOL so that's as far as I went.)

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17 minutes ago, Harry Seaward said:

That must be a somewhat recent change.  The first two hits on this Google search ssy say 6 regardless of type. 

https://www.google.com/search?client=ms-android-verizon&ei=p2ogW9OTLIHCsQWPnqbwAw&q=ohio+statute+of+limitations+debt&oq=ohio+statute+of+limitations+debt&gs_l=mobile-gws-wiz-serp.3..0j0i22i30l4.4258.4929..6134...0....151.293.0j2......0....1.........0i71j0i67.Hyp2ewu4XZo%3D

(Full disclosure, I only read the first two links but the 'relevant' page text that came up in the Google search list didn't contradict the six-year SOL so that's as far as I went.)

Up until 2012, the SOL for written contracts was 15 years. 

Agrawal v. University of Cincinnati (2017)

"The statute of limitations for civil actions based on written contracts is currently 8 years. R.C. 2305.06. For claims that accrued prior to September 28, 2012, the statute of limitations is the lesser of 15 years from the date of accrual or 8 years from September 28, 2012, the effective date of the amendment. 2012 Am.Sub.S.B. No. 224, Section 4."

The Huntington National Bank v. Michel (2017)

"R.C. 2305.06 in its current form, which has been in effect since September 27, 2012, provides that an action upon a contract in writing shall be brought within eight years. The prior version R.C. 2305.06, which was in effect when the note between appellant and appellee was signed and presumably when appellant defaulted on the note, provides for a 15 year statute of limitations."

I don't know where those sites got their information.  If you look further down on the page in your link, you'll see "Ohio Debt Help" and it mentions the change in the law from 15 years.

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1 hour ago, Clydesmom said:

If the debt is to a state university then it is a state debt and there is no SOL on collecting.

I checked into this before I posted and cannot find anything to confirm it and lots of sources (albeit none that cite anything official) saying "tuition" would be treated as a written agreement, so long as no government backed student loans were used to pay the tuition.

At any rate, the SOL in OH on a written agreement is 8 years, so it's irrelevant anyway,

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