JONESBORO, Ark- A bad debt policy was recently passed to make sure the financial health of each institution is protected.
A State hopes this will offer a clear line of transparency when it comes to university student debt.
“Arkansas State, each year they will provide a report showing how much is owed by students, faculty, and staff to the university for anything,” says Vice President of Strategic Communications for the Arkansas State University System, Jeff Hankins. “It helps ensure good financial reporting. We just wanted to formalize a policy for something that already existed for transparency.”
Hankins says that this was a proactive measure by the A-State System.
Each individual institution will still obtain their own debt policy.
Hankins says a-state has strong capital reserves and is financially stable.
“We have really good strong financial management, but we want it to stay that way,” according to Hankins. “If you suddenly have a big spike in student debt, then that can impact your cash flow. We just want to be very transparent, very proactive, and make sure we don’t run into problems down the road.”
Hankins says so far, the amount that students owe is not that large, but they do want to make sure it is repaid.
“About 2/3rds of the student counts receivable are less than a year old. The average just overall past due bad debt is about $1,300,” he says. “So, we’re not taking big dollars, but we are talking dollars that are owed to the university and need to be repaid.”
If a student has a pass due bill; they are unable to register for classes or receive a transcript after they graduate.
Hankins says with the pandemic, they understand everyone's financial situation is different.
He says they want to do everything possible to help ease that financial burden on students and parents.
The most importance thing to do if you have a debt at any A-State campus is to communicate says Hankins.
“We want to make sure if there is money owed, we will work with students,” according to Hankins. “We work with students every day to make sure this isn’t a problem. We need to make sure they communicate with the finance office and make sure they don’t get in a problem situation.”
Hankins wants to remind students and staff to check their emails.
If you have a past due bill the university will email you about the debt in your account.