Is .50c Worth the Risk?
School is back in session; students return to class and stand in line to wait for student loans. Normally things go smoothly, yet this time before leaving the loan room, they are told they need to pay .50c in change, or else they won’t receive their diploma. Huh?
Back in September, students could option to pay all their tuition via their first loan installment. Yet, something went wrong with the mathematics and now the college wants the student to pay for the college’s mistake or else the college won’t give them a diploma. On the one side, the student does owe money; however, they were not the one who messed up the tuition payment. The college decided how much the full tuition was and took it off the student’s loan installment.
I have talked a lot about crisis communications on my blog and one of the key aspects is to identify potential crises and remove them. A PR nightmare is just waiting to happen if a student fails or refuses to pay .50c. Local media would run with the story of a hard working student being denied their diploma and chances are the situation could be a national embarrassment. Enrollment and prestige in the college could plummet and they would be out thousands of dollars.
Instead of threatening the students, the college should absorb their accounting error. If every student owed .50c, it would only be close to $1,000. That pales in comparison with the damage a PR crisis would cause.