Students face consequences for unpaid debt


Sheridan College is cracking down on debtors.  The college formally set out a plan for dealing with students who don’t pay.

The new Outstanding Obligations Policy, approved by the President’s Council on Feb. 18, is nothing new according to Zuzana Chocinova, a legal assistant at Sheridan.  It’s more of an update.

“Nothing has changed,” she said. “It was in effect before. We are just streamlining it.”

The policy, which applies to all students, outlines three steps on how Sheridan will deal with students who do not meet their financial obligations.

According to the policy, if a student fails to make a full payment on a debt to the school, Sheridan retains the right to withhold official transcripts and proof of credentials, suppressing the view of grades online, deny further registration to the student, and applying an ‘academic encumbrance’ to their student file.

The intention of the policy is not to expel students however.

“You won’t be able to register, and you won’t be able to continue with your program. It’s not an expulsion,” said Linda Dalton, registrar at Sheridan.

To remove the encumbrance, a student would have to provide proof of having paid off their outstanding debt.

According to Alexa Abiscott, general counsel and information privacy officer at Sheridan, procedures on how the formalized policy moves forward will be coming out in six months.

The policy itself, which she says was developed by the office of the registrar, is not a legally binding policy either.

“There was no real impetus [for the formalization]”, said Abiscott. “We’re trying to formalized as much as we can to make it transparent for students. It’s common at other schools.”

For students who find themselves with outstanding financial obligations, Dalton says the best thing to do is ask for help.

“There are many times that students are not aware (or say they’re not aware) of what their outstanding obligations are because they’re not responding to communications,” Dalton said.

“My suggestion is for students to read the communications. Most of the communications for students are online and go to their Sheridan email account.”

Ultimately the responsibility falls on students to keep up with their obligations according to Dalton.

“Students should be familiar with those online services that tell them what those fees are and when they’re due.”

According to Dalton, the policy also allows for better communication between departments.

“To put it into policy allows us to have greater consultation so that all departments are aware of what the rule sets are. That’s the driving force behind it.”