In the case of a disputed tuition debt, who ends up with the burden of proof?

UPDATED: May 22, 2012

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

In the case of a disputed tuition debt, who ends up with the burden of proof?

A local community college alleges I owe for the fall semester of lst year. I never signed up for it and haven’t attended the school in 6 years. I only received a bill last month and have talked to them to try to straighten it out since but it’s already been turned over to collections. I was finally told by the school registrar that I could appeal if I could prove I was working or out of state at the time. Shouldn’t they have to prove it since they’re alleging the debt?

Asked on May 22, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Tennessee


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

"Collections" is not a judicial determination that you owe the money--it is either their internal collections department or third party debt collector. Even if it has been turned over to collections, you do not have to pay unless and until they sue you and obtain a  judgment against you in court. If they sue you, the burden of proof will be on them, since the burden of proof is essentially always on the person or entity bringing the lawsuit (the plaintiff).

That said, to avoid later litigation and other difficulties (as well as possibly having a bad debt reported to credit rating agencies), if you have evidence that you were working, were out of state, etc. you may as well provide it and try to head this off before it escalates.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption