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I Owe the School So Much Money They Won’t Let Me Back In

By on August 28, 2017

Question:

Dear Steve,

My family went through rough times back when everyone was being laid off. We lost our house and I ended up with only one parent and my brother after all was said and done.

I graduated high school and continued to attend college even though all of what I earned went completely to family bills (rent, food, etc) under family pressure to attend although I knew I wasn’t ready.

I ended up doing a mediocre job (passed all my classes but needed at least a 3.0) in my first year of school and lost scholarship money making it even less possible to afford the private college tuition. Still, I attempted to go another semester (in which I did even worse than the first time failing two classes). Now I am in collections for roughly 5,000 to the school, but I want to go back.

I want to go back to the same school, but I have to pay what I owe to them first. I can’t afford to pay the whole amount right away so I’ve thought about possibly taking out a personal loan for the debt.

I’m not sure if that’s a good idea but just making monthly payments would take me years to pay it off before I could actually go back to school. Do you have any other advice as to how I could possibly get out of that debt as quickly as possible?

Maria

Answer:

Dear Maria,

The first question that comes to mind is what school are you going to that is charging you for back amounts due? I’m primarily concerned you may not be going to the most affordable and effective school. This type of outcome is generally experienced by people who go to for-profit schools.

For example, let’s just say you live somewhere near Knoxville Tennessee.

Factoring in federal student loan data here is the performance of schools in that area.

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It appears from the data the two schools that are the least expensive, have the higher graduation rates, and higher salaries after graduation are The University of Tennessee-Knoxville and Carson-Newman University.

If we dig a little deeper, The University of Tennessee-Knoxville may be even less expensive given your potential family income. And the likelihood of you graduating and getting the most out of your cost of education is impressive.


Can you please post a comment below and let me know what college you were going to and how many credits you had there. Once I know that I can give you some more specific advice on what to do.

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Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.

4 Comments

  1. Maria

    August 28, 2017 at 3:10 pm

    I went to Trevecca Nazarene University. They gave me the most amount of financial aid compared to the other schools i applied to. I lived off campus my freshman year and paid roughly 5,000 for the whole year. After i lost my scholarships the cost went up to roughly 10,000 a year which for my family is impossible to afford. My third semester, I didnt make any payments towards my tuition which is why it is now in collections. I have around 33 credits at that school and am only looking to go back because they now offer an online option which I believe would fit me best considering I have to work to maintain my family as well. Going to classes often cuts into my work hours which I simply can’t afford to do.

    • Steve Rhode

      August 28, 2017 at 3:38 pm

      Okay. I see they have about a 48% graduation rate http://oir.wiki.trevecca.edu/Retention+by+Freshman+Cohort+(2016-17). So here is the situation, if you owe the school you will either need to payoff the debt or negotiate a mutually agreeable repayment plan to get back in. As long as you owe the debt they can hold your transcript so it would make it tough to transfer. An unsecured personal loan is going to run around 20+% in interest if you could qualify. Think about a company like Prosper.com or LendingClub.com. Here is the link for information about the nearby schools https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/search/?zip=37210&distance=20&sort=completion_rate:desc

      The school Office of Financial Services is located on the 2nd floor of the Martin Building and is open for normal business hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. I would go talk to the first and see what you can’t negotiate on the past debt to get back in. Depending on exactly what the old debt is for it might be possible to discharge it with bankruptcy and free up your transcript and get you back in.

      Talk to them and let me know what they say.

  2. Marie

    August 28, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    Question asked about owing money to my college.

    • Steve Rhode

      August 28, 2017 at 2:47 pm

      Let me know the answers to my questions in the comments.

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