I Registered for College But Did Not Attend. They Still Want Me to Pay.


Dear Steve,

I attended my freshman year at South Eastern University, I then left the school for 1 1/2 years for military obligation. I returned and registered for a semester but did not attend. I never stepped foot on campus nor did I attempt any coursework. I am now trying to obtain my transcript to attend another university but they won’t release my transcript until I pay for the Semester I didn’t attend.

How can I get my transcript without pay the thousands in fees for a semester I didn’t attend?



Dear Joseph,

It sounds like they have a valid debt you owe. Hang with me a minute.

You say you registered for the school that semester but did not attend. The fact you did not set foot on campus is immaterial. If you enrolled you would have needed to withdraw in a short time from the start of class to avoid being on the hook for the debt.

They sold you a ticket, you decided not to attend the concert. Your seat was still waiting for you.

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According to Southeastern University, you have the first week of the semester to drop classes. They also say, “full tuition refund is permitted within this period. The drop/add period ends after the first full week of classes, and no additional changes are normally permitted.” – Source

Essentially you incurred the fees and charges to attend when you registered. Thankfully you did not apply for any student loans.

Southeastern University goes on to say, “When a student submits written notice of cancellation to the Admission Office or the Office of the Registrar prior to the first day of classes, a full refund (100%) of institutional charges is made.” They also say, “Fees are nonrefundable after the first week of classes.” – Source

I don’t know what state you live in so you may want to escalate this matter and see if there is a state-specific law that would cover this situation. You can contact your State Department of Education or file a complaint with your State Attorney General office and let them filter the question to the right department.

See also  Do I Have to Pay My College Fees?

Alternatively, if the amount you owe is owed to the school and not to a student loan lender, then you may be able to negotiate a settlement of the balance due as a full satisfaction of the debt. Just keep in mind that settling a debt can have some credit report and tax consequences.

There is no sense wasting a perfectly good mistake. Learn from this situation and never forget to officially withdraw to stop liability for the education you enroll in.

Damon Day - Pro Debt Coach

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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.
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