Students Owe Regents $7.5 Million—Send the ORC!

Which South Dakota public university has the most deadbeats? Proportionally to campus student revenues, DSU! So says this fun chart on student accounts receivable in Board of Regents Agenda Item 10-C:

Student accounts receivable, Board of Regents Agenda Item 10-C, June 2017, p. 2.
Student accounts receivable, Board of Regents Agenda Item 10-C, June 2017, p. 2.

Now this isn’t student loan debt: this is tuition, fees, fines, what have you that students have not paid for on each campus. Over four years, the systemwide rate of unpaid bills is 0.54%, compared to a national bad debt collections rate of 3.5%. So even that 1.29% rate at DSU is still pretty good compared to university students nationwide.

Oh, and don’t be alarmed by the apparent increase in accounts receivable at most campuses. For the past two years, the Regents had to put on hold their usual practice of writing off some of these debts. The Regents had to wait while the state prepped and launched its new debt collection program, the Obligation Recovery Center.

Yes, the thing the Regents and other agencies now dispatch to shake down people who owe is money is called the ORC. Brutish, aggressive, repulsive and generally malevolent all acronyms should be this much fun!

After just a few months of activity, the ORC has collected about $781,000 out of $3.78 million in debts referred to it by the Board of Regents.