Unpaid Tuition, Deactivated IDs: ‘It’s Like Loyola Did Not Want Me to Succeed’

Giuliana Larson | The PhoenixKobey Davis shared his struggle with Loyola’s Bursar Office after his student ID was deactivated in response to not paying his tuition for spring 2022 by the deadline.

When students don’t pay their tuition in full, they might see holds on their university accounts or certain privileges revoked. One of the actions Loyola takes against students who haven’t paid their tuition is deactivating their student ID cards, preventing them from easily entering buildings, checking out classroom equipment and more.

One student said he felt restricting his ID — two weeks after the initial warning — left him falling behind. 

Kobey Davis, a senior studying film and digital media, had his student ID deactivated after he didn’t pay his tuition for the spring 2022 semester. 

“It’s like Loyola did not want me to succeed,” Davis said.

Loyola current cost is $49,498 in tuition and fees, excluding room and board, according to The Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Students can receive scholarships and financial aid such as federal or state grants, work study opportunities as well as offers for loans to offset the cost of tuition, according to Loyola’s Financial Aid Office website.  

Davis, 22, said he has frequently struggled paying for tuition at the university because he doesn’t receive money from his family. He’s received about $10,000 in grants from the government; however, he’s left paying the remaining $13,548 with loans and out of his own pocket.

Leslie Owen | The Phoenix

“It’s so much added stress,” Davis said. “I’ve already paid a big portion of my tuition each year and the university acts like I have not paid at all.” 

An overwhelming majority, 92%, of all Loyola students receive financial aid, according to the university.

Loyola’s Bursar John Campbell said Davis’ situation isn’t common, but is part of the university’s typical action against students who owe money.

“Such situations occur only in rare instances when a student does not respond to previous outreach by the Bursar team regarding their account and the student’s account balance is extremely high,” Campbell told The Phoenix.

Davis said he wasn’t able to resolve his balance when he received the emails from the Bursar’s Office and said he was applying for loans and the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) grant. The HEERF grant consists of money the federal government has given Loyola that must directly go to students, The Phoenix reported.

Davis said without an active ID he struggled to get into some campus buildings, including the School of Communication where students must enter through automated doors with ID scanners.

“I often had to stop at the front desks of the buildings my classes were in, so I could explain my situation and show my health app and student ID,” Davis told The Phoenix. 

Daniel Matamoros, Financial Aid Office associate director, said in an email to The Phoenix, “While a deactivated ID prevents access to locations requiring a swipe, most academic buildings do not require an ID for entrance.”

Davis also said he needed to rent equipment from the university to complete a film project for a class, but had trouble getting the equipment he needed due to his student ID being deactivated. 

“How am I supposed to work on school projects if I can’t access the materials?” Davis said.

Davis was also unable to access campus resources such as Halas Recreation Center, the Information Commons, as well as Lewis Library in Corboy, which he said prevented him from working with classmates in campus settings. 

Davis said this has impacted him as he struggles to focus at home and relies on study spots on campus to get work done. 

“It is easier for me to focus at school,” he said. “To have them take that away is like them saying they do not want me to succeed even given my circumstances.” 

Davis was first contacted by the Bursar’s Office on March 14 stating that his tuition for the spring 2022 semester was past due. Tuition for the spring 2022 semester was due Jan. 5, according to The Office of the Bursar’s website.

To resolve this issue, Davis was urged to pay the balance or submit an Account Action Plan. 

“I submitted an action plan stating I intended to pay my tuition by applying for more loans,” Davis said. 

Campbell said the Account Action Form allows the student to state what actions they have taken to resolve remaining balances in their financial account. 

However, this action plan was rejected because the Bursar’s Office told Davis there wasn’t enough specific information such as what loans he applied for, according to an email sent from the Bursar’s Office to Davis. The Bursar’s Office didn’t answer questions about why an Account Action Form would be rejected. 

“Once the student formulates a plan for bringing their student account current the form is approved,” Campbell said. 

Two weeks after he was first warned about his ID being turned off due to an unpaid balance, Davis received a final warning email from the Bursar’s Office on March 28 and by March 29 he no longer could use his ID. 

“I am so frustrated that I have to keep going through this every single year,” he said. “I am constantly shuffling between work and class, which leaves no time to hangout with friends and other activities that decrease stress.”

Davis has been working twenty hours a week at a local restaurant this semester in addition to 18 credit hours of classes. 

“Work by itself is really enveloping and school on top of it was a struggle,” he said.

After receiving $1,000 from the HEERF grant, Davis filled out another Account Action Plan. This time, it was approved by the Bursar. 

After nearly three weeks of a deactivated student ID, the Card Office re-activated Davis’ student ID, returning his access to campus facilities. 

“It feels like I caught a break even though there’s still a barrier of those dues that will keep me from registering in the summer for my last two classes,” Davis said. 

Davis said he wants Loyola to give lower income students more opportunities to make paying tuition more accessible. 

“I think Loyola should give upperclassmen more opportunities for financial aid in their last semesters by making it more accessible especially lower income students,” Davis said. “They shouldn’t deactivate IDs at all because they don’t know what students are going through, and they should take account of what classes students are taking before because it could negatively affect their mental well-being and make it more difficult for students to excel in their classes.

Campbell said there’s no direct aid for lower income-graduating students; however students are encouraged to file a Special Circumstance Appeal and CARES Report.  

“This notifies the Financial Aid Office of said hardships so that the office can leverage institutional resources, such as Loyola Commitment aid, that exists and is available for students to respond to those issues,” Campbell told The Phoenix. 

Davis contacted Loyola’s Financial Aid Office April 7 asking if there are any opportunities for additional financial aid to help him resolve his remaining balance. 

In response, a Financial Aid Advisor told Davis he could apply for more loans. 

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