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I am being charged by a college I have never physically been to. What should I do?

Taunton, MA |

Southern Maine Community College is charging me for classes i never attended because i withdrew from the school after the add/drop period. I have never stepped foot on their campus. What happens if I don't pay? I know I'll never be able to enroll in their classes again unless I pay.Could there be any other consequences? What can I do? I already tried an appeal but they denied it.

Attorney Answers 2

Posted

I agree with Mr. Lynch. I only want to add that tuition is dischargeable. If you did not finance this with a student loan, and you are otherwise eligible, you could eliminate the debt by filing a bankruptcy petition.

The content of this message does not constitute legal advice and is not intended to be relied upon by anyone. It is highly recommended that the reader seek the opinion of a qualified attorney in his or her area for consultation and assistance. There are applicable statute of limitations and other considerations that only a qualified attorney can provide guidance on after being fully informed as to all of the circumstance of your particular case.

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Asker

Posted

I should add that legally, I was and still am not allowed to leave the state of Massachusetts. The college is in Maine. I am eligible for a student loan. If i file a bankruptcy petition I'm guessing that would hurt my credit. I really don't want to pay for a school I've never been to. I

Jon W. E. Rockwood

Jon W. E. Rockwood

Posted

You leave us wondering why, if you were not allowed to the leave the state of Massachusetts, did you apply to a school in Maine? Nevertheless, additional information about the school's policy of refunds of tuition, etc. is most likely found in their student manual/handbook. Probably available on-line if you never received a hard copy.

Christopher Joseph Fein

Christopher Joseph Fein

Posted

It is true that filing for bankruptcy will have an adverse impact on your credit score. It would not, however, preclude you from subsequently improving your score by using credit wisely. An alternative to bankruptcy would be to settle the account with the school by offering them less than what you owe. If the school obtains a lien and/or reports this as a derogatory account on your credit report this will also have an adverse impact on your score.

Asker

Posted

How do I apply for bankruptcy? Where should I go for advice on that?

Jon W. E. Rockwood

Jon W. E. Rockwood

Posted

Use the Find a Lawyer function here on AVVO. Then select from the Bankruptcy/Debt section, and you will see a list of attorneys who practice bankruptcy. You can refine your search by geographical area for someone near you. You may also want to look at the US Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts website, http://www.mab.uscourts.gov/mab/. A great source of information.

Posted

The fact that you never set foot on their campus is irrelevant. Their offer of admittance, presumably last Spring, was met by an acceptance of their offer of admittance and, undoubtedly, the terms of their offer. That sounds like a contract, one that you breached. In every contract breach, the non-breaching party has a duty to mitigate their damages. There is much detail left out of your question but your waiting until after the add/drop deadline suggests that you led the college to believe you were coming until the last minute. The problem that creates for you is that they will argue (successfully, I believe) that, by so doing, you eliminated their opportunity to mitigate the damages caused by your breach - like admitting some other applicant off their wait list to take your place. Others may disagree with this analysis but you have a problem that can affect your credit if you don't deal with it, in my judgment. I would contact them and see how much they would take in compromise. If you have a hardship excuse, that might help you, but you need to address it.

The answer to this question is for informational purposes only and is expressly not legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, a lawyer-client relationship. Readers should not act upon this without seeking advice from professional advisers.

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Asker

Posted

I should add that legally, I was and still am not allowed to leave the state of Massachusetts. The college is in Maine.

James M Lynch

James M Lynch

Posted

I don't think that will help you with them, especially if that was the case at the time you committed to the college. If you are talking about a lot of money, you may want to consider Attorney Fein's suggestion.

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