WALLA WALLA - Walla Walla Community College officials said they couldn't remember the last time they had to file police complaints against students who owed them financial aid refunds, but so far this month the college has filed nine such complaints.
College officials said the students failed to attend courses over the last year, even though they were paid a total of $10,000 in federal financial aid funds.
Walla Walla Community College Vice President of Student Services Clinton Gabbard said the college has given the individuals numerous opportunities to work out a payment plan and as a last measure has resorted to filing police complaints.
"The college's approach is we want these folks to pay the money back, and we want them to become college students in the future. What the prosecutor does in the future who knows," Gabbard said, noting that so far he has yet to hear from the prosecutor's office regarding the matter.
In previous years financial aid checks weren't available until after enrollment was verified on the first day of classes. But a recent move to facilitate the payment process also made it so students can now receive checks before the first day of class, Gabbard said.
Each year, WWCC administers roughly $14 million in financial aid to some 9,300 students, or about 80 percent of the student body, Gabbard added.
The $10,000 owed represents less than two-tenths of a percent of the college's yearly financial aid payments.
Of the nine students who had police complaints filed against them, most were over 30 and only half still lived in the area.