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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Over the past year, UF's Student Health Care Center has treated 43 students without billing them.

In July, SHCC discovered its mistake and charged the students 7 during the Drop/Add period 7 when unpaid costs can block students from registering for classes.

An audit uncovered the error.

SHCC responded by charging the 43 students' accounts on July 31 for services like lab or pharmacy fees from August 2006 to July 2007, said Phil Barkley, director of SHCC.

Students were not notified beforehand, he added.

If the students did not pay off their debts before drop/add, a financial hold was placed on their records, making it impossible for them to register for any classes.

Because none of the students had been notified, Barkley said students probably would not know about it unless they tried to register for classes during drop/add.

While he said he did not know how many of the 43 students were affected during drop/add, he said it was a small group.

Barkley also said SHCC plans to work with affected students to get their holds lifted so they can finish their course registrations.

"Certainly today I haven't done anything to make any adjustments to let students have those holds lifted, but surely if students have those issues, we're willing to work with them to make the transition possible," Barkley said.

Steve Orlando, UF spokesman, said Barkley is working on a plan to help the students but had nothing else to add.

Barkley said if a student realizes he or she has a SHCC-related hold, the student should call the SHCC administration and let them know about it so it can be fixed.

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There are many reasons the charges might not have been assessed before, Barkley said.

He cited a change in a student's marital status and a new medical management system as two reasons for the fluke.

Barkley also said he did not know how much money had been charged to students but stressed SHCC's willingness to help.

"If you had a service a year ago and you're getting billed now, I can see how that would be frustrating even if the services had been delivered," Barkley said. "But we want to help [the students] as much as we can."

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