Kentucky State University set a September 2 deadline for students to settle their accounts with the university by paying their bills, setting up a payment plan, or arranging for financial aid. The historically Black university was not bluffing. When the deadline passed, it notified 645 students that they were no longer enrolled. This is about a quarter of the student body. Some of the students who were dismissed had accounts with balances of more than $40,000.
The process began in August 2013 when students were informed that they faced dismissal for not paying their bills. Since that time, students had been informed 22 times of the impending deadline and counseling was offered on 13 different occasions, according to the university.
Interim President Raymond Burse ordered the university’s foundation to pay the balance of all students who owed less than $1,000 enabling 111 students to remain on campus. Additional scholarships were awarded to 62 students who had unpaid balances but were scheduled to graduate this year.
“We face a nearly $7 million historic deficit largely due to 645 students who have not paid KSU this fall,” President Burse said. “This is terribly unfortunate, and we must take the necessary steps to protect KSU’s financial stability.”
A week later, President Burse announced that about 70 percent of the students who had been dismissed had paid their accounts in full and were back in good standing. In a statement, President Burse wrote: “Once students understood that the university was serious about their charges being paid upfront, a large number of them found resources to meet their financial obligations.”