Shaw students who owe cut off from classes, dorms, cafeteria

Posted November 15, 2017 6:19 p.m. EST
Updated November 15, 2017 9:24 p.m. EST

— Dozens of Shaw University students said they are unable to purchase food and face being dropped from classes if they don’t settle outstanding tuition balances, but the university says those students got plenty of warning.

WRAL News received several calls and emails Wednesday from students and parents who said they were recently notified of outstanding balances by the university.

In an email sent to students, university officials warned students that those who do not meet with a financial advisor to get the problem resolved would be asked to leave residence halls and would have their classes dropped and ID card deactivated effective at 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

Students denied that they were given a warning, and student Jasmine Elliot said she didn’t know there was a problem until her student card was declined in the cafeteria.

"The card was denied. A message popped up saying 'blocking.' The cafeteria lady told me I had to go to the financial aid office," she said.

Elliot said she left the cafeteria without food and went to the financial aid office, where she was informed she owed the school over $3,000.

"The lady told me that if I come up with $1,000 by Nov. 30, I will be able to continue my education at Shaw University," she said. “A lot of people are upset. They’re saying they don’t know how they’re going to come up with the money. There are some students who have to come up with over $3,000 by Nov. 30. I don’t understand how they expect us to come up with such a large amount of money by that time."

Student Ariel Brown said she was also unaware of any owed money until her card was denied in the cafeteria. She later learned that she owed the university about $5,000.

"My parents actually sent me money for food because I can't get into the cafeteria right now. I'm just cheap eating," Brown said.

Shaw University officials released the following statement Wednesday evening in response to the incident:

At Shaw University, we are committed to helping all of our students afford their education and we work tirelessly to ensure their needs are met. Shaw University made several attempts to contact students with outstanding balances, including sending multiple emails and making phone calls over the course of the semester with detailed instructions on how to settle their accounts.
We continue to encourage all students who are experiencing problems with their accounts to contact the offices of Financial Aid and Student Accounts for the assistance they need.

The university did not confirm the Nov. 30 deadline for paying owed tuition.