Policies and Regulations
Policies and Regulations
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POL 07.55.01 - Student Debt Collections Policy

Authority: Chancellor

History: 

  • First Issued: July 1, 1995.
  • Last Revised: July 30, 2014

Related Policies: 

Additional References: 

Contact Information: Bursar, 910-775-4082

1. PURPOSE

1.1 To ensure proper collection actions for a student that has incurred a debt with the university. The University of North Carolina at Pembroke must abide by the statewide accounts receivable program policies listed by the Office of the State Controller (OSC) and the Office of the Attorney General’s Collection Section.

2. SCOPE

2.1 Per NCGS §147-86.22 the State Controller, in conjunction with the Office of the Attorney General (OAG), shall establish policies and procedures to govern techniques for collection of accounts receivable. These techniques shall include use of credit reporting bureaus, judicial remedies authorized by law, and administrative setoff by a reduction of an individual’s tax refund pursuant to NCGS §105A, or a reduction of another payment, other than payroll, due from the State to a person to reduce or eliminate an accounts receivable that the person owes the State. For the purposes of this policy, UNC Pembroke utilizes the websites for the North Carolina Department of Justice - Office of the Attorney General and the Office of the State Controller.

3. POLICY

3.1 Accounts Receivable Collection Policy.

3.1.1 All accounts will go through the following procedure:

 

Age of Accounts

Account balances that are less than $10.00 may be written off based on  campus level decisions without additional collection procedures per OAG

1-30 days past due

Mail first past-due letter

Electronic Bill
Receive a promise to pay.

31-60 days past due

Mail second and final past-due letter

Electronic Bill
Refer to Attorney General's Office.

61 + days past due

Complete appropriate submittal forms and send to the Attorney
General's Office, or the agency legal counsel. Refuse additional
service to the delinquent debtor where this does not conflict with
Federal and State laws. After 45 days from date sent to Attorney General’s Office, a decision will be made on how to proceed with account. Account may be assigned to a state contracted collection agency. At least twice a month a list will be submitted to the Department of Revenue for tax set off proceeding to satisfy the debt owed to the university.

 

A student with an unpaid balance at UNC Pembroke will not be allowed to enroll for the next term, receive a transcript or diploma. Current financial aid will not be used to pay prior semester balances.

3.2  Interest and Late Fees

3.2.1 Accounts will be considered past due if the debt is remaining outside of the current semester and the student is not currently enrolled. According to NCGS §147-86.23, a state agency shall charge interest at the rate established pursuant to G.S. 105-241.1(i) on a past due account receivable from the date the account receivable was due until it is paid.  The late fee shall be 10% of the outstanding debt.

3.2.2 Interest shall begin to accrue on all delinquent accounts at the time the account was due and continue to accumulate until the delinquent portion of the account is satisfied.  The North Carolina Department of Revenue’s established current interest rates will be utilized for interest charges.

3.3 Disputing a Late Penalty and Interest

3.3.1 If a student is charged the one-time late payment fee and interest and have extenuating circumstances that warrant a review of the fee and charge, a written appeal request along with supporting documentation may be submitted to the Bursar within 45 days.  Failure to dispute the penalty and late fee within the timeframe will be considered an acknowledgement by the student that they are aware of the fee and accept the charges.  Disputing a late fee does not guarantee that the fee will be removed.  Submitting a written request for removal only means that the penalty and fee is being disputed and that the Bursar will review the student’s account to assess the appeal validity.  If the Bursar deems the penalty and interest fees to be legitimate, the student will be required to pay it.

3.4 The University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNCP) utilizes an internal Braves Pay Payment Plan for current or future term balances.

3.5 For past due accounts, the Bursar’s Office will allow a six (6) month payment arrangement only prior to the assignment to a collection agency. The student must sign a promissory note and the payments will be, at a minimum, the remaining balance divided into six equal payments with the first payment due the date of the payment arrangement.

4. PROCEDURE

4.1 Office of the Attorney General’s Guidelines

4.1.1The OAG is the primary agency responsible for the provision of all legal services and advice related to the collection of accounts receivable. For detailed procedures regarding submission of past-due accounts, please contact the OAG or the appropriate legal counsel.

4.1.2 For monies received or to be received, the statewide and UNCP’s cash management plan, in accordance with NCGS §147-86.11(e)(4), shall provide at a minimum that unpaid billings due to a state agency shall be turned over to the OSC for collection no more than 90 days after the due date of the billing.

4.1.3 If, within the first 60 days, it is apparent that collection of an account will not be secured without legal assistance or that compromise of the claim is justified (i.e., a formal settlement is to be made by the OAG, with part of the debt paid and the remainder discharged), the account shall be forwarded immediately to the OAG or the appropriate agency legal counsel.

4.1.4 Where the debtor is paying a debt in periodic payments satisfactory to the agency, the account may be retained beyond 90 days, until the account is satisfied.

4.1.5 The debtor must be afforded thirty (30) days in which to repay the debt. All account receivables submitted for collection should be reviewed to ensure that the statute of limitations has not run. The statute of limitations will be three (3) years on most account receivables. If the promissory note or contract is “under seal” there is a ten (10) year statute of limitations. On federal loans (Perkins) there is no statute of limitations. Outstanding past due account receivables greater than $10 and less than $50 do not require additional collection procedures after the dunning letter process is complete and may be written off as approved by management in accordance with the university’s write off policy, documented as to justification and approved by management. Accounts equal to or greater than $50 should be reported to the Department of Revenue for Set Off and should be reported to the Attorney General’s office. The Attorney General’s office will advise the campus of next steps regarding collection of debt, such as write off, lawsuit, referral to a collections agency or other.

4.1.6 Pursuant to NCGS §75-55 and NCGS §58-70-115, once an account is turned over to a collection agency UNCP cannot charge the collection agency fee to a debtor. UNCP, however, may still charge the statutory rate of interest and the late penalty fees to the debtor.

4.2 Setoff Debt Collection Act/Tax Setoff

4.2.1 Mandatory State Usage [NCGS §105A-3(b)]. A State agency must submit a debt owed to it for collection under this Chapter unless the State Controller has waived this requirement or the State agency has determined that the validity of the debt is legitimately in dispute, an alternative means of collection is pending and believed to be adequate, or such a collection attempt would result in a loss of federal funds. The State Controller may waive the requirement for a State agency, other than the Department of Health and Human Services or a county acting on behalf of that department, to submit a debt owed to it for collection under this Chapter if the State Controller finds that collection by this means would not be practical or cost effective. A waiver may apply to all debts owed a State agency or a type of debt owed a State agency. The Collection Section of the OAG will submit debtor information to the N.C. Department of Revenue for debts owed to the N.C. Department of Justice through the Setoff Debt Collection Act. Other State agencies should register with the Department of Revenue and the State Controller’s Office (unless the State Agency Creditor has previously been registered) in order for each Agency Creditor to submit its delinquent accounts to the Department of Revenue for setoff debt collection.

4.2.2 Review for accounts should start on October 1 for tax setoff due date of December 1.

4.2.3 Acknowledgement letters must be sent to debtors within 10 days of notification that the setoff has occurred.

4.3 Bankruptcy

4.3.1 If UNCP receives a Notice of Bankruptcy, UNCP must immediately cease all collection efforts. Most Agency Creditors will receive Chapter 7 (Asset Case or No Asset Case) or Chapter 13 (See Attachments 34, 35, and 36). The Agency Creditor is prohibited from engaging in collection activity against the debtor and certain co-debtors as listed under 11 U.S.C. § 362 - Automatic Stay.

4.4 Write-off of UncollectibleAccounts

4.4.1 Accounts should be written off when all collection procedures, including those required by the OAG, have been conducted without results and management deems the accounts uncollectible. Accounts due from individuals must be submitted to the Department of Revenue for setoff debt proceedings at least once prior to write off. After write off, these accounts shall continue to be submitted to the Department of Revenue for debt setoff proceedings.

4.4.2 Any account over six months aging and inactive will be included in the doubtful allowance. Any account over one year aging and for which all state policies and procedures have been followed will be written off.

4.4.3 However, OSC requires that the reasons for writing off an account and compliance with write-off policy must be adequately documented. Such documentation must be readily available for audit.

4.4.4 Accounts that are written off as uncollectible require that the university reimburse the State for uncollected tuition. As a result, the university’s limited budget will be negatively impacted, possibly reducing support services to students in good standing.

4.5 Accounting for Receivables Written Off

4.5.1 Uncollectible accounts may be written off of 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 the agency until discharged by the OAG or collected.

4.6 Accounting for Uncollectible Receivables Written Off

4.6.1 For any uncollectible receivable of more than $25.00 that has been written off, a summary level record of the accounts sufficient to substantiate the debt is to be retained indefinitely or until the debt has been collected or discharged.

4.6.2 For uncollectible receivables of $25.00 or less that have been written off, such records must be retained for two years. A record of accounts written off must be maintained and reported to the OSC on a periodic basis, to be determined at a later date.

4.6.3 If an account is determined to be an indigent care account or a contractual adjustment, the account is no longer classified as a receivable/debt of the agency and, therefore, the procedures to account for uncollectible receivables do not apply. Agencies should adhere to applicable indigent care regulations.