University requiring students to sign new financial form

Tim Sampson and Tim Sampson

Starting this week the University will be requiring all students to sign the new Financial Responsibility Agreement before being able to register for classes during the upcoming semester.

This contractual agreement, available for online submission, is meant to sew up a legal loophole that had previously made it difficult for the state to collect on past due bursar accounts.

By signing the agreement students take formal responsibility to pay all tuition, fees and other expenses acquired while attending the University.

Those who do not pay their accounts after siging the agreement may be the target of legal action from the state in addition to registration and transcript holds from the bursar’s office.

The one page form can be found on MyBGSU. Students choose to either accept or reject the agreement and then submit it electronically.

Any students under the age of 18 will have to print a hard copy to have signed by their parents.

Students will not be able to register for summer or fall classes until the form is accepted and submitted. A new form must be submitted annually each January.

Although it might seem like common sense that students are responsible for paying their tuition bill, according to University officials, the legal obligation has been unclear.

Even though many students have a formal contract to pay their bill either because of an installment plan or a financial aid reward, others lack a clear contractual obligation.

‘It’s something that is just good business practice,’ said Kim McBroom, associate vice president for marketing and communications. ‘It’s just and an acknowledgment of the students’ duty to pay all costs incurred.’

According to the Bursar’s office, the responsibility agreement was mandated to all Ohio colleges and universities by the state attorney general. The attorney general’s office is responsible for collecting all debts owed to the state.

‘Occasionally we have to send a delinquent account over to their office and then they’re turning around telling us that they don’t necessarily have a legal standpoint,’ said Tawn Williams-Nell, interim bursar.

Although it is rare for an account to be sent all the way to the state level for collection, it does occur, according to Nancy Colsman, bursar.

Colsman said that on average 100 to 150 accounts have to be assigned for collection each year.

‘We’ve had a few accounts sitting at the Ohio Attorney General’s office for years – as far back as 10 or 12 years,’ she said.

According to Williams-Nell, the new form should prevent such incidents from occurring by clearly outlining students’ obligations.

‘We’ve tried to make it as easy and accessible as possible,’ she said. ‘We wanted something fairly explanatory and easy to understand. Just one page and click.’