Law School Discussion

$250 Registration Cancellation Fee

$250 Registration Cancellation Fee
« on: July 31, 2007, 12:19:14 PM »
The school from which I am transferring has charged me a $250 registration cancellation fee.  In my opinion, this amounts to nothing more than a slap in the face to those students who decide to pursue their legal education elsewhere.  Two weeks ago I sent a nicely worded request asking for the fee to be waived.  Yesterday, the petition was denied. 

I have a couple of questions:

First, can the school actually do this?  On what legal authority can the demand money from a student who has withdrawn.  What exactly am I paying for? 

My thinking is that I never signed a contract which stated I would be assessed any sort of penalty should I decide to transfer.  Further, when I did register (online as it was), it is not as if some message screen popped up alerting me to any possible fees.  I will check the student handbook this week, but I simply don't think the school has any right to demand money from at this point.  I paid in full for the first year, got a year's worth of classes in exchange, and as far as I am concerned, all accounts are now settled.  One of the attorneys with whom I work puts it bluntly - becasue I am no longer a student at this school, I am no longer subject to their bylaws.  Period. 

Second, if I choose not to pay, what ramifications would I face.  Do you guys think the school would actually get a collection agency after me?  Take me to small claims court?  Report me to the bar in order to affect my Moral Character Evaluation?

I must admit that any goodwill I had towards the school has been entirely eroded by this process. 

Re: $250 Registration Cancellation Fee
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2007, 12:26:07 PM »
That is crappy.  What school is this?  Well I shouldn't ask.  Anyway, sounds like a bunch of *&^% to me.  I am not sure what they could do.  Can they withhold anything you need to transfer at this point?

Re: $250 Registration Cancellation Fee
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2007, 12:37:44 PM »
No, nothing to withhold.  My transferee school has all transcripts they need, and I have requested my own copies of grade reports, transcripts, etc., so that I have copies to give to employers this fall. 

I would rather not say which school.  It took them two weeks to get back to me after my request, so I am going to wait two weeks, and then ask them on what legal authority they are requesting the money.  I mean really, what service are they providing me in exchange for the $$, "unregistration?"  I mean, c'mon. 

Re: $250 Registration Cancellation Fee
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2007, 02:31:07 PM »
Send them another polite letter telling them where they can look for that $250.

jacy85

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Re: $250 Registration Cancellation Fee
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2007, 02:49:22 PM »
You may need the transcript to show employers after you've transferred.  You won't have 1L grades at your new school, obviously, and if an OCI employer wants transcripts, then you may be out of luck if your school withholds it.

I say just pay the fee.

mae

Re: $250 Registration Cancellation Fee
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2007, 03:09:28 PM »
Did you register before you found out you were accepted to transfer?

Re: $250 Registration Cancellation Fee
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2007, 03:22:04 PM »
I had been accepted to transfer when I registered (I was accepted early action at one school), but registered in case there was a problem with spring grades.  The registration was all done online though, and before the withdrawal had been submitted, I dropped all of my classes. 

To address Jacy's point, I have in hand an official transcript which I can photocopy and provide to employers. 

As to everyone reading this, do any of your schools do this?  Can it possibly be legal?  If I do choose not to pay can the school really do anything about it?  Moreover, would they?  Would they really report a former student to a collection agency or do something of the like??  To me, that seems like it could be the ultimate p.r. disaster - "Spiteful Law School Punishes Former Student by Ruining Credit" 

Butch

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Re: $250 Registration Cancellation Fee
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2007, 03:30:13 PM »
If you don't pay, they'll place a hold on your account. And, eventually turn it over to collections.  This will mess up your credit score, but also have to be reported to character & fitness (and, ultimately repaid).

Also, some employers, fellowships, etc that you'll want at some point in the future will want an official transcript, meaning straight from the school with the stamp. And, yours will have a hold on it.

Check the student handbook about fees. If it's listed there, then you've pretty much agreed to it along with everything else in the handbook - even if you didn't sign anything.

mae

Re: $250 Registration Cancellation Fee
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2007, 03:34:41 PM »
I wonder if it is some sort of holdover from your 1L year - perhaps the policy for withdrawing after deposit deadlines still applies later on?

Re: $250 Registration Cancellation Fee
« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2007, 03:58:11 PM »
Well, Butch certainly put it succinctly - there will be a hold, and eventually it can be reported.  Perhaps just sucking it up and paying is my best course of action. 

I will check the handbook this week.  It's in storage, but I will have access to it on Saturday.  If not in the handbook, do you guys think that I have valid grounds to challenge the fee? 

If nothing else, the fee is at least underhanded.  $250 is a lot of money to me, especially given the extremely tight budget I am living on this summer.  Yes, I know it is a small price to pay in the long run, but for right now, I need to figure out a way to get this sizable amount of money together while still paying rent, bills, etc. 

Until this episode, I had a very positive view of my old school and would have recommended it to anyone.  Now, I am left with the feeling that the school believes that well all owe them something, and that to transfer is an insult upon the school.  One of my classmates was called upon to speak directly to the Dean of Students before she would grant his withdrawal.  When they did meet, she dressed him down.  It's bs.  It is not as if they gave us 1L year for free - I personally got no scholarships, paid in full for services rendered, and now consider our accounts settled.