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Thread: Civil Lawsuit from a University / College Pennsylvania

  1. #1
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    Default Civil Lawsuit from a University / College Pennsylvania

    Hi Everyone,

    I'm kinda in a bind here and not sure where to turn. it's a LONG story, so please bare with me

    Back in 2009-2010 I attended a college, my mother was going thru health complications, so I withdrew, I originally asked my advisor to withdraw me, which she said she would do, by the time we moved forward with the withdrawal, it was past the deadline for withdrawal. However my advisor NEVER filed my late withdrawal papers. I called multiple times with no response and also emailed with no response. My mother Passed in April 2011. Upon calling the university Bursars office, they said, Nothing was owed.

    A couple years later I get a call from a collections agency about a balance due, I told them this was withdrawn, to which they said, some balance remained. So I posted a payment and never heard from anyone again.

    Then later in 2016 I get a knock on my door and I'm being served papers for court. Originally my attorney said the statue of limitations was passed so they just simply could not collect anything and not to worry. Ofcourse I didn't also realize I posted a payment and later verified with the bank that infact I did.

    I went to court and the judge asked me to follow the university procedures and submit a late withdrawal now, to which I did and ofcourse it was rejected. we went to court again and he threw out all the late fees and the universities attorney fees, holding me liable for just the tuition owed. To which my attorney was arguing isn't fair, and if the advisor had submitted the late withdrawal for family hard ships at the time, then we wouldn't be here. He didn't agree.

    Again my attorney brought up a case in a different case where the judge threw out an entire mortgage foreclosure case for something similar, however that was in another state. He's asking the only way to convince me is to find " Case Law " Is there such a case law? Also there's a twist.

    I also had student loans, now I didn't know that anything was owed, simply thought my withdrawal was finished years ago, nor was / is the student loan debt on my credit report, so I simply thought everything was done. However upon checking the subsidized loan site, I see I've been incurring late fees and my student loan debt is now almost double.

    Please help, I have no job, and the attorney is actually a friend of mine helping me out. I can't afford 8-10k let alone anything else at this point in my life. What are my options? Is there such a case law? If the judge took away the late fees and attorney fees for the University, shouldn't that also affect my student loans? I am completely lost and concerned. The attorney is advising me to negotiate with the university now, which I currently owe 4.5K to, after removing the late fees and attorney fees etc.

    The judge said, he's doing that, because I saved the email communication from my contact attempts to my advisor PLUS my advisor at the time saying she would move forward and submit the late withdrawal forms, which she never did.

    Also I want to add, that the University has a late withdrawal / retro active withdrawal policy, and it is not guaranteed and up to the sole discretion of the office of appeals. However again, originally it was never filed, we have confirmed that, then they asked me to file again in 2016 which was denied. " Ofcourse "

    Do I have any options?

  2. #2
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    It isn't clear what options you are seeking. If you took out a loan, you owe whomever granted the loan their money back, with interest. That obligation does not go away just because you didn't use the money for its intended purpose.

    Retroactive withdrawals are extremely rare. It is unclear why you didn't verify it had been submitted back in 2010, and certainly you should have received something in writing that stated it had been granted. It would be odd for an advisor, or anyone else, to submit such a thing on your behalf. Even when you withdraw for personal reasons, after the deadline, you are going to owe the tuition and fees. The withdrawal means your grade won't count against you but as you still took up a spot in your classes, and did receive some instruction, you owe for the semester.

    I'm not sure what kind of case you are looking for, but certainly that is something your attorney can do based on whatever legal theory they plan to use in court. Cases in other circuits or states are not binding on the court which hears your case.
    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElleMD View Post
    It isn't clear what options you are seeking. If you took out a loan, you owe whomever granted the loan their money back, with interest. That obligation does not go away just because you didn't use the money for its intended purpose.

    Retroactive withdrawals are extremely rare. It is unclear why you didn't verify it had been submitted back in 2010, and certainly you should have received something in writing that stated it had been granted. It would be odd for an advisor, or anyone else, to submit such a thing on your behalf. Even when you withdraw for personal reasons, after the deadline, you are going to owe the tuition and fees. The withdrawal means your grade won't count against you but as you still took up a spot in your classes, and did receive some instruction, you owe for the semester.

    I'm not sure what kind of case you are looking for, but certainly that is something your attorney can do based on whatever legal theory they plan to use in court. Cases in other circuits or states are not binding on the court which hears your case.
    First off, thank you for replying to me, in " Both " places second I understand that it's " Two " different things, however the university was paid already from not only my student loans, but also my financial aid, plus if the judge is saying one is not honorable, shouldn't that also reflect the second? Also, I literally didn't really attend classes, as they were " virtual " plus I have emails from the advisor telling me to stick it out and speak with the professors as opposed to just withdrawal shouldn't that count for something? See all this is intertwined with one thing.

  4. #4
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    Your advisor suggesting you stick it out and you taking that advice does not change anything. If anything, it speaks to the fact that you did take up that spot and did have that instruction available to you. The judge apparently dismissed the late fees and the attorney's fees the university incurred. Those are the only things which are waived. You still owe everything else. Your lender was not a party to this case so nothing which was decided affects them in any way. The judgment was not to wipe out your student loan, it was to settle the balance owed to the university. If you took out a loan, that money went someplace. Either way, you owe that money back to the lender. If you take out a loan to buy a car, and decide not to buy the car, you still have to repay that loan. The lender isn't out the money they gave you. If you dropped out mid-semester, it is possible your financial aid did not apply. Rarely do grants and scholarships cover semesters in which the student drops out. You would have to look at the terms of those individual scholarships and grants to find out for certain.
    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

  5. #5
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    Student loans almost never go away. They are not dismissed through bankruptcy, or almost anything else but death. It does not matter whether you finish school or not, what errors the university may or may not have made, any of that. It's strictly between you and the bank that guaranteed the loan. The minute you take out a student loan, it's your until you repay. The best course of action would be to call the collections department of your lender, or the collection agency if they've sold the debt, directly and see if you can work out some kind of payment plan.

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