Sep 6, 2012 10:52 PM by David Ortiviz

CSU-Pueblo cracks down on unpaid student debt

Enrollment at CSU-Pueblo dropped about 9.6% this semester compared to the Fall 2012. University leaders say a big reason behind that dip is a crackdown on cheapstakes. Hundreds of students weren't paying their tuition, costing the university a million dollars in the past two years. The bottom line is no one held the irresponsible students accountable, until now.

A routine audit of accounts receivable at CSU-Pueblo revealed the ugly truth. In part it showed about 400 students earned college credit on a free ride. They didn't pay their tuition and no one made them.

"It's not fair really," said Logan Gogarty, student body president at CSU-Pueblo. Gogarty works two jobs and pays for his own education. The fact that some of his classmates skated by for free, irritates him. "It's frustrating because it's a struggle to pay for school," he said.

Last spring, CSU-Pueblo wrote off about $1 million in unpaid student debt, which they racked up over about two years.

"Any number that is an unpaid number is a big number," said Lesley Di Mare, President of CSU-Pueblo. News 5 asked Di Mare how so many students slipped through the cracks?

"David I really don't know, again having arrived in December, I can only tell you there apparently had been unpaid balances," said Di Mare, who was hired after the audit was conducted.

Di Mare says CSU-Pueblo can drop students who don't pay their tuition, but apparently that policy wasn't enforced by prior leaders. "It was not enforced as strongly as it should have been in the past," said Di Mare.

University staff members are working with students to set up payment plans, while fine tuning their own checks and balances. "We do send as I said emails, letters and we do make phone calls. we have a communication tree," said Di Mare.

"In fact when we log into our computers it shows us the exact amount we owe," said Gogarty.

The current leadership points out if these policies had been enforced in the past, there might not have been such a hefty drop in enrollment this semester.



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