Nickel and dimed delinquents


I’ve been called many things in my life – some pleasant, some which can not be repeated in this space. But never have these words come from Villanova, who recently decided to brand me a “delinquent.”

Earlier this week many students were greeted in their e-mail inbox with a letter from the Bursar’s Office informing them that they had a “DELINQUENT ACCOUNT.” Surely, I must have done something pretty atrocious to have warranted the scorn and rejection of this Villanova society that I have come to love and embrace.

It turns out I had an outstanding account balance of $15. That’s right; $15 is standing between me and my quest to graduate from college. Being the criminal that I am, I still had not paid a parking ticket that I received last week. If I choose not to “address this matter immediately,” as warned by the Bursar’s Office, then I will not be able to register for classes or obtain my transcript.

Fortunately, I have plenty of company in Villanova’s group of miscreants, delinquents, and outcasts. One of my peer’s fathers was threatened with a $100 penalty fee if he did not send in the money within the next two days. Another one of my friends who just had turned in a check for over $3,000 for a study abroad program was now being asked to write an additional check for $15 to cover processing fees. I wouldn’t be surprised if I were charged a griping fee for even just referring to the Bursar’s Office in this column.

How you can pay all $40,000+ of your tuition, room and board and general fees on time, yet should you fail to pay a book fine, a parking ticket, a health center fee or any number of miscellaneous charges which students incur during their time at the University, you can expect to be held in a college purgatory. Unable to access the necessary academic services provided by the University, you must do you penance – this time in the form of a tithe to Bursar’s Office to buy your way back into Villanova’s good graces.

It makes sense that if you owe the University money, you should not be able to access services. But what doesn’t make sense is that everyone is treated the same in this regard. If you miss a tuition payment, by all means the University has the right to deny you access to registration. However, there’s a big difference between owing $20,000 to Villanova and owing $20. If a student’s family has made every tuition payment on time but missed a parking ticket or a health center fee, we think it’s ok to assume that they’re good for the $15.

After all, if they’re not, Villanova knows where we live.