Originally Posted by noonwitch
According to the Huffpo article, the debt is the result of federal requirements:
Originally Posted by Bailey
James said anyone who withdraws before the semester is 60 percent complete will usually owe a balance, because federal law obligates Grace to return Title IV funds -- federal grants, loans and work-study funds -- on behalf of the withdrawn student. "Suspension or expulsion constitutes withdrawal," James said in an email.
Sounds to me like they could have petitioned the federal government to forgive the debt, rather than the school. Generally, schools allow a student to set up a payment plan so that they don't have to do it in one lump sum, and they'll free up transcripts as long as the payments are being met, so that a student can transfer. Also, the article cited the petition to forgive the debt, which had garnered 17,000 signatures. The total debt is $6,300. If each signatory to the petition had given 50 cents, they'd have been able to pay off the debt and have cash to spare. Also, another article states that the Huffpo piece may not have been entirely honest about the transcripts:
My take on this is that she signed a contract, and that she failed to keep her end of it. In doing so, she incurred obligations and debts. If she'd been sleeping with a man instead of a woman, the school's rules against premarital sex would have still been in effect and she would have had the same problems, so unless someone can show selective enforcement, it's not a discrimination issue. It also looks as if, by publicly proposing in a video that went viral, Powell was seeking a public confrontation with the school. If so, then her claims of having been a naive Christian when she arrived at the school may not be entirely accurate. It wouldn't be the first time that someone applied to a school or organization in order to raise their own personal issues, with no intention of conforming to the rules. Think Shannon Faulkner and VMI.
The Huffington Post reported that the school refused transcripts until she paid, but James denies those allegations: “The letter that they referred to in [the article] clearly stated that we were clearly willing to provide transcripts and help the student transfer to another university.”