The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Monday March 20th

Student billed after 40 years

Students taking summer school classes should pay their tuition — and save their receipts.

UNC alum Pete Hinton received a notice in August that the University had taken almost $90 from his state tax return for two summer school classes he took in 1972. Hinton graduated from UNC in 1974.

About 600 alumni have received notifications this fiscal year according to Janet Kelly-Scholle, director of finance communication and training for UNC. She wrote in an email that this is a last effort for the University and state to collect outstanding debt.

The Department of Revenue charged Hinton an additional $5 administrative fee.

Hinton said he was surprised and upset with the University.

“I couldn’t imagine that it was true that I owed them money,” Hinton said.

“The only way I could defend against this charge is to present them with the receipt for a class that I took 40 years ago.”

The Setoff Debt Collection Act makes it legal for the University to recoup what it said Hinton owed through his tax return.

The period of time during which creditors can legally collect outstanding debts does not apply to the University under the act.

In a letter, the University gave Hinton 30 days to request a hearing to challenge the charge.

Kelly-Scholle said that most alumni and students pay debt charges rather than appealing.

Hinton did not have a receipt for the classes and requested a hearing, which was held Oct. 11. Hinton said a hearing officer from University Counsel decided to reimburse Hinton.

Hinton said Gary Maynard, the assistant University cashier, represented UNC at Hinton’s appeal. Maynard refused to comment on the case.

The Daily Tar Heel submitted a public records request for documents related to Hinton’s hearing to University spokesman Mike McFarland.

McFarland said the documents are unlikely to be considered public record based on the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act, which protects students’ educational records.

Hinton said the University’s procedure of collecting outstanding debts will alienate donors.

He said he has talked with more than 30 UNC alumni who told him they will no longer donate money to the University.

“I’ll never be so cuckoo now that I leave them any money,” he said. “It’s going to lose the University a lot of money.”

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