AG Shapiro Announces Changes To Improve Fairness, Efficiency In Student Fees Collections

May 6, 2021 | Topic: Peoples AG

OAG Recalled Nearly $18M in Student Fees From For-Profit Collections Vendors

HARRISBURG—Attorney General Josh Shapiro today announced that the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General (OAG) is taking more steps to improve the ease and convenience of paying back student fees for Pennsylvanians. Effective May 5, 2021, $17,961,238.17 in fees owed to the Commonwealth from 4,760 Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) students will be recalled to OAG from private collection agencies.

“Access to higher education is already a barrier for far too many in our Commonwealth,” said Attorney General Shapiro. “Our goal is to make it easier for Pennsylvanians to improve their lives through college — not send them to collections, hurt their credit, and prohibit them from making themselves whole by forcing them to pay by cashier’s checks and money orders. Today’s announcement is just one step towards easing the financial burden on Pennsylvania’s students, and there will be more to come.”

The Commonwealth will no longer send outstanding student fees to for-profit debt collectors, and efforts by a university to send student fees to for-profit debt collectors before more consumer-friendly efforts are attempted will no longer be approved.

Upon taking office, AG Shapiro directed the office to make the collection of outstanding debts to the Commonwealth more consumer friendly; the office works to implement payment plans and accepts personal checks from individuals instead of requiring these debts be paid by punitive, high-fee, money orders or cashier’s checks.

The Office of Attorney General is entrusted by law to oversee the collection of outstanding debts to the Commonwealth, including PASSHE schools. The office will also be implementing an online system for people to make these payments no later than 2022.

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