Student Accounts Owes Students Answers



The anxiety students feel when bills are due is only exacerbated by the negligent bureaucracy of Student Accounts.


From the day the semester’s billing statement is available to the day it’s due, students have 3 weeks to come up with the money they need to stay enrolled at Fordham University. And, of course, that initial bill doesn’t include financial aid, so you’ll have even less time with the exact balance after financial aid deductions. The moment you find out, you scramble for money, look through loans, borrow from loved ones and scrape together every last penny. 

And what is Student Accounts doing during that time? Your guess is as good as mine. It seems like everyone I talked to has had issues with Student Accounts, but no one really has answers on why these inconveniences happen. Is it a lack of staff or a lack of care? Is this worth arguing for an accurate balance or will they just never respond to emails? Is there a solution at all? And most of all, who holds Student Accounts accountable?

“Student Accounts is one of the most frustrating entities on campus,” said Kyan Hejazi, Fordham College Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’22. “They aren’t very responsive, and they take their sweet time.” Hejazi provided proof of his struggles through email after email showing his months-long struggle with Student Accounts. You would think such emails mean open communication. Think again. In one email, it may say an issue is taken care of, but in the next, Hejazi is threatened with disenrollment because of the same problem. 

I have a similar story: This past summer, I called and asked that I not be charged for housing since I withdrew from on-campus housing. I was assured that it was taken care of, then I got another email saying I’m in danger of disenrollment. The cycle seemed endless. So I stressed and I called, and when it was all said and done, I overpaid. The first terrifying email I got from them was one that many other students received as well. On July 17, I had already spoken to someone about the remaining balance, but that didn’t make me feel any more secure when their email read, “An unpaid balance on your student account is placing your enrollment at Fordham in jeopardy.” The generic, clinical email was sent to many students, and I have to wonder how many were in similar situations to me — stressed and afraid as a result of a problem with Student Accounts.

Another student, who chose to remain anonymous, had the same issue of a housing balance and threats after withdrawing. “It put me in a hard position because I was constantly calling them while also trying to do what I needed to get my off-campus housing in place,” she said. “It didn’t make sense that they wanted money from me for something I wasn’t going to receive.” 

She went on to explain that despite the difficulties of the limited office hours and the incredible time difference while she worked full-time in her home state, Student Accounts was unsympathetic during her calls.

Some Fordham students bounce from one issue to another, some are asked to pay for more than they should and still others don’t get back the money they paid in excess. “We were promised to get our money back, but it took calling three to five times a week for two months for us to get it, and it was still sent to the wrong address and had to be shipped across states to get to me,” said a different anonymous student. “Money we needed months ago is just getting to me now.” Maybe the most annoying part of the refund policy is that they take so much time to get our money back to us, but hardly give us any time to get tuition to them. 

There’s a blatant power struggle involved when almost everyone I spoke to asked to remain anonymous, largely in fear of getting on Student Accounts’ bad side. Much like emails from the department, I don’t have a lot of answers, but I do have a big question: Who is going to hold Student Accounts accountable? The optimist in me hopes that any system of checks on Student Accounts wouldn’t allow them to run so dysfunctionally. There needs to be an outside department committed to keeping Student Accounts efficient, accurate and reachable, and there needs to be more transparency between the department and students.

When you click the Student Accounts link on Fordham’s “Enrollment” webpage, you are redirected to a list of resources that include “cost and financing options” and “refunds.” None of the pages give you actual information about the department of Student Accounts, but they do mention that college is probably “the biggest commitment of time, energy and money that you’ve ever made.” That’s completely true, and they make it a difficult, scary and stressful commitment every step of the way.