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Can a college hold your transcripts for outstanding balance when you paid off the debt to a collections agency?

Viera, FL |

In Mar of 2008 I attended an online school costing us a large sum of money. I only attended one semester and hated it. I am currently enrolling in a community college BUT to receive any financial aid I need the transcripts from the online school even if I dont plan to use the credits in my current degree. We had an outstanding balence with the school in Feb 2010 which we paid to a collection agency with our tax return. When I called today for transcripts we were informed that a bad debt of 59.74 is owed to them and written off as a bad debt even though we paid the full asking price from the collection agency AND they admitted to having that on file. Is this legal? Is there anything other then paying more money that we can do? I am out of work with 2 kids and a husband with a pt job! HELP

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Attorney answers 2


You can try suing the school, but I would recommend that you send in all of the information you have to someone with the authority to release the transcripts. You might get further for much less money.

[I am a Virginia-licensed attorney. This communication is intended as general information and not specific legal advice, and this communication does not create an attorney-client relationship.]


You have a practical and a legal problem. The best answer is to probably pay the money so you can get your transcript because the amount is very low. You may have a law suit to demand the transcript, but is it worth it and can you afford to assert your rights?

When deciding if you should sue someone there are two essential requirements. First, did the person who you think violated your rights have a duty to refrain from the activity that you think would form the basis of a suit or did they have a legal duty to do something and they did not do it. It is very difficult to determine the answer to that question based on the facts you list because it will depend on State law and possibly administrative law in your State and under Federal Law.

The second essential is where there compensable damages? Damages for which a Court can award you monetary awards or injunctive relief (order the other person to do something or stop doing something). If you have both of these elements you may sue.

However, lawsuits take a high degree of expertise and cost money. Many clients have come to me through the years and stated that the money did not matter to them, just the principal of the issue! When I tell them how much I and other lawyers charge by the hour it becomes obvious to them that the value of the lawsuit damages is very important.

You can seek out your lawyer referral service to seek counsel. There are agencies of the State and Federal Government you may want to contact. Talk to a lawyer before you decide to sue someone for expert legal advice!

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Good Luck!

Disclaimer: This answer does not constitute legal advice. I am admitted in the States of New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts only and make no attempt to opine on matters of law that are not relevant to those three States. This advice is based on general principles of law that may or may not relate to your specific situation. Facts and laws change and these possible changes will affect the advice provided here. Consult an attorney in your locale before you act on any of this advice. You should not rely on this advice alone and nothing in these communications creates an attorney client relationship. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author only and the fact that he has worked as an Assistant District Attorney; State Supreme Court Clerk; Special Assistant United States Attorney (Hawaii); Assistant Cornell University Counsel or Judge Advocate, United States Marine Corps should not be relied upon to assume that these statements reflect the policy of these organizations.

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