Iowa public universities join efforts in collecting debts



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IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Three Iowa public universities are joining in efforts to collect more than $15 million in outstanding debts from students and customers that use their services.

The University of Iowa, the University of Northern Iowa and Iowa State University want to collect outstanding tuition, specialized loans and various other charges. They have issued a joint request for proposals from external agencies to help collect the funds, the Iowa City Press-Citizen (http://icp-c.com/1FA9xn1 ) reported.

For the past two years, UNI has asked external collection agencies for help in gathering an average of $2 million each year. ISU has requested help in getting $6 million each year, while UI has asked for an average of $7.5 million each year.

Although the totals sent for collection are in the millions, the amounts are statistically small since the universities are billion-dollar operations.

Officials say no outstanding account will be sent to outside collection agencies until after the school's internal collection service has offered multiple repayment options to a former student.

"The goal is to avoid the collection agencies and not impact (the former student's) credit report," said UI spokeswoman Jeneane Beck.

ISU officials said their contracts were scheduled to come due, so they reached out to the other schools to see if they wanted to join their request for collection. The other two extended their contracts for a short time period to coincide with ISU's timeframe so ISU could issue the proposal on behalf of all three schools.

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Information from: Iowa City Press-Citizen, http://www.press-citizen.com/

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The Associated Press

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