Student Account Policy

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Policy Code: 
4130
Approval Authority: 
Vice Chancellor
Policy Type: 
University Policy
Policy Owner: 
Administration and Finance
Responsible Office: 
Administration and Finance - 828.251.6742

Purpose:

To establish guidelines for student account refunds and overpayments, responsibility for payment of student accounts, and to define and establish disposition of delinquent accounts.

Covered Persons:

This policy applies to student accounts established with UNC Asheville.

Definitions and Policy:

I. Student Account

A student account is established for each student at the time they are admitted to the University. This account is used to record student charges and payments. Each student is responsible for the proper settlement of their student account. UNC Asheville upholds Federal laws and regulations which give students certain rights to privacy of their education records and rights of access to their education records.

II. Payment-Tuition and Fees Due Dates

Tuition and fees for all pre-registered students are due on August 1st for the fall semester, December 15th for the spring semester, and May 20th for the summer semester. Those students who are not pre-registered must pay tuition and fees prior to registering for classes.

III. Returned Check Fees

All checks deposited through the University Cashier’s Office that are returned by the university’s banking institution will incur a $25.00 return check fee. Once the check has been purchased from the banking institution, the face value of the check plus the $25.00 will be charged back to the account to which the original deposit was made.

The $25.00 return check fee will also apply to electronic check (ACH) transactions which are returned for any reason.

IV. Consideration of Estimated Financial Aid

Students who receive awards through the UNC Asheville Financial Aid Office are responsible for paying any balance that is not covered by their award. Listed below are examples of these awards:

  • Pell Grants
  • Stafford Student Loans
  • Perkins Loans
  • N.C. Veteran Scholarships
  • Vocational Rehabilitation
  • University Scholarships
  • State Grants

If a student will receive an outside scholarship that will be paid directly to UNC Asheville, the student should notify the UNC Asheville Financial Aid Office. The scholarship will be noted on the student’s financial aid account. The scholarship will not be reflected on the student’s account or shown as a reduction on their bill until the actual scholarship is received by UNC Asheville. While the student may consider these scholarships as a reduction of the amount owed, the student will be responsible for paying any balance that the scholarship does not cover or if the scholarship is not received.

If a financial aid award is adjusted or reversed for any reason and creates a balance on the student’s account, the balance becomes the student's responsibility and is payable upon notification to the student by letter, email or mailed bill of the adjustment or the reversal.

V. Student Refunds

The University of North Carolina at Asheville adheres to all Federal and State regulations and guidelines when processing student refund checks.

Student refund checks are not available each semester until the first day of classes at the earliest. Availability of a refund check is determined by disbursement of funds to the student’s account. The University does not advance funds in anticipation of aid being received.

Credit balances which are the result of an overpayment by the student will not be automatically refunded. In this circumstance the student must request a refund.  For a check payment, a refund check will not be issued until fourteen days after the payment creating the credit balance was received. This is to allow a check payment to clear the University’s bank.

Students will be notified by email when a refund check is available to be picked up. Refund checks that are not picked up within two weeks of the student being notified by email will be mailed to the student’s address on file.

VI. Substantial Overpayments

According to the Patriot Act, amounts brought into the country without appropriate currency reporting greater than $10,000 is considered bulk cash smuggling.

University of North Carolina at Asheville reserves the right to refuse payments that exceed the balance on the student’s account by $10,000.00 or more.  Any student who receives a large overpayment to his/her student account may not have the overpayment refunded directly to them.  If the student is not enrolling in future terms, the funds may be returned to the source from which the payment came at the student’s expense.  If the decision is made to accept the overpayment, documentation must be submitted which satisfies any state or federal reporting requirements.

VII. TMS Monthly Payment Plan

Students enrolled in a payment plan with Tuition Management Systems (TMS) and who are current with their TMS payments will be allowed to make monthly payments instead of paying the full balance at the start of the semester.

If calculations show that the student’s TMS payments will not cover their account balance the account will be deemed as short. Upon notification of the shortage, the student must either pay the shortage or increase their payment plan. A registration and a transcript hold will be placed on the student’s account until the shortage is resolved.

If a student is delinquent on their monthly payments, a registration and transcript hold will be placed on their account until the account is brought current.

The TMS payment plan is offered as a service to students. The University reserves rights regarding this service. For example if a student’s TMS payment plan becomes delinquent or if payments per the student's plan are not completed, the University has the right to cancel the student's current plan and to prevent the student from participating in the plan in the future.

Enforcement and Collection Procedures

I. Account Holds

Students with outstanding balances greater than $50.00 will have an Accounts Receivable (AR) hold placed on their account. This hold will prevent the student from registering for the next semester or receiving official transcripts until the outstanding balance is paid in full.

Students with an outstanding balance less than $50.00 will have a Transcript (TH) hold placed on their account. This hold will prevent the student from reviewing grades or receiving official transcripts until the outstanding balance is paid in full.

If an outstanding balance remains unpaid, the student will be subject to the collection policies of the University and the State of North Carolina.

Students with an outstanding Levitch loan will have an Emergency Loan (EL) hold placed on their account. This hold will prevent the student from registering for the next semester or receiving official transcripts until the outstanding Levitch loan is paid in full.

Students who are enrolled in the current term but do not pre-register for the next term may have a Prepay (PP) hold placed on their account. This hold will prevent the student from registering for the next semester until they have paid in advance for the next semester.

Students who are delinquent or short on their Tuition Management Systems (TMS) payment plan will have an TMS (TM) hold placed on their account. This hold will prevent the student from registering for the next semester or receiving official transcripts until their TMS plan is brought current.

II. Collection Procedures

Students who have an account balance at the end of the semester and who are not pre-registered for the following semester will be sent a last bill. Their account will be considered past due thirty days from the date of the last bill.

For a past due account with a balance of $10.00 or less the following steps will be taken:

A registration and transcript hold will be placed on the account and a last bill will be sent with a due date of thirty days. Interest will be calculated as of the past due date and charged to the account in accordance with North Carolina General Statutes. The accounts with a balance of $10.00 or less will be reviewed and written-off monthly.  Any amount written off from an account remains payable to the University and must be paid in full prior to receiving a transcript or registering for classes. 

For a past due account with a balance from $10.01 to $49.99 the following steps will be taken:

A last bill will be sent at the end of the semester and a registration and transcript hold will be placed on the account.

If no response is received to the last bill within thirty days, the University will send a First Notice letter. The person with a past due account will have thirty days to respond to the First Notice. If there is no response, interest will be calculated as of the past due date and charged to the account in accordance with North Carolina General Statutes. The accounts with a balance of $10.01 to $49.99, after the calculation of interest, will be reviewed and written-off monthly. Any amount written off from an account remains payable to the University and must be paid in full prior to receiving a transcript or registering for classes.

For a past due account with a balance of $50.00 or more the following steps will be taken:

A last bill will be sent at the end of the semester and a registration and transcript hold will be placed on the account.

If a past due account does not respond to the last bill within thirty days they will be sent a First Notice letter and a notification that the account will be sent to the Setoff Debt Collection (SODC) Program as outlined below. The person with a past due account will then have thirty days to respond to the First Notice and SODC letters. If there is no response, they will be sent a Final Notice letter. They will have an additional thirty days to respond to the Final Notice letter before being assessed late fees and interest. Late fees and interest will be calculated as of the past due date and charged to the account in accordance with North Carolina General Statutes.

Thirty days after the Final Notice letter, the account will be sent to the North Carolina Attorney General’s office (AG) for collection. The AG’s office will send a letter to the person with a past due account allowing thirty days for payment of the account. If no response is received to the letter from the AG’s office, the University will assign the account to a state contracted outside collection agency and the account will be placed with SODC.

Setoff Debt Collection Act (SODCA)

The North Carolina Setoff Debt Collection Act (SODCA) provides that North Carolina individual income tax refunds are subject to state claims to cover past due accounts of $50 or more.

The University will send a person with a past due account a letter with the First Notice or when an account is sent to AG’s office advising of the University’s intention to place their account with SODCA. The account is placed with SODCA thirty days after the account is sent to the AG’s office.

The NC Department of Revenue notifies the person with a past due account that the University has a claim against their income tax refund at the time that a refund is seized. The amount owed to the University plus a SODCA collection fee is deducted from the individual’s state tax refund. The amount owed is then forwarded to the University and the collection fee is retained by the NC Department of Revenue. The University will apply the funds received as a payment against the outstanding account balance. The University will send a letter to the individual informing them that they have thirty days to contest the debt owed to the University.

The Exception Committee has been appointed as the hearing officer for appeals of setoff debt as well as other University appeals. In the event of an SODCA hearing, the Bursar would recuse himself from participation.

III. Write-off of Delinquent Student Accounts

Uncollectible accounts may be written off of UNC Asheville’s financial accounting records and no longer recognized as collectible receivables for financial reporting purposes, but the legal obligation to pay the debts still remains. Accounts written off remain debts to UNC Asheville until discharged by the Office of the Attorney General or collected.

Prior to writing-off of a past due account, the University will have pursued collection of the account as stated above. Accounts with a balance less than $50 are reviewed monthly to determine that appropriate collection efforts were followed and that each account qualifies for write-off. These accounts will be submitted to the Controller and the Associate Vice Chancellor for Finance for authorization to write-off.

Accounts with balances greater than $50 will be considered for write-off if there has been no payment activity after three years. Receipt of a person’s tax refund through the SODCA process or any collections made by an outside collection agency will be considered as “payments” for determination of whether or not an account will be written off.  All accounts will be reviewed to determine that appropriate collection efforts were followed and that each account qualifies for write-off.

Write-offs for accounts of $50 or more are completed annually in June and are approved by the Controller, the Associate Vice Chancellor for Finance, and the Vice Chancellor for Finance.

Any amounts subject to write-off from an account remain payable to the University and must be paid in full prior to receiving a transcript or registering for classes.  A write-off (WO) hold will be placed on all accounts written off to prevent registration for classes or the receipt of transcripts.