Brown University News Bureau

The Brown University News Bureau

1996-1997 index

Distributed April 23, 1997
Contact: Richard Morin

Brown University ends `red light' policy for delinquent accounts

Brown University has changed its policy regarding the timely payment of student financial obligations and has ended an enforcement procedure known on campus as "red lighting."

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Brown University announced today that it will change its policy regarding the payment of student obligations. Where the University had denied access to the library, athletic and other facilities, it will now put in place a different set of consequences for students who fail to meet their financial obligations in a timely manner.

Editors: A copy of the new policy is available by fax or web from the News Bureau.

The change will eliminate "red lighting," the University's practice of using campus access cards to reach students who have overdue accounts. Students whose access cards yielded a red light at turnstiles were asked to visit the bursar's office and arrange payment of outstanding obligations. The overwhelming majority resolved the problem with one visit.

"During the course of the current year, I have undertaken a review of the "red lighting" practice with senior members of the academic administration and with student leaders representing undergraduate, graduate and medical students," said Judith Michalenka, vice president and University controller. "While all are in agreement that there must be strong consequences for failure to meet financial obligations on a timely basis, all have recommended a change in those penalties."

As of July 1, 1997, late fines will be increased from the current $30 per semester to $150 per semester for payments not received by due dates (Aug. 1 for first semester; Jan. 1 for second semster). In addition, late charges will be assessed on outstanding balances starting 30 days after the due date. Students owing more than $1,000 at the time of pre-registration will not be allowed to pre-register until payment is made in full. Students participating in Brown's installment payment program will not be assessed late payment fines and charges provided that all installment payments are made on a timely basis.

"Brown offers a variety of assistance to its students and families for affording the cost of a Brown education," said Michalenka. "In addition to need-based financial aid, there are various loan programs and an installment program to help students meet their financial obligations at Brown."

Michalenka announced the new policy was announced to students in a memo this morning (Wednesday, April 23, 1997).