Dealing with financial aid and registration can be a huge headache for new college students, but the headache turned into a nightmare for a North Texas student that had to withdraw for family reasons.
Fort Worth's Rosalia De La Cruz wears many different hats. Student by day and mother by night, but education has always been a top priority.
She applied to the University of Texas at Austin back in 2014. She was accepted and awarded a partial academic scholarship.
"I kind of wanted to see the big university life, and experience that," she said. "I was in the top 5 percent of my class so I got right in," she says.
But with growing financial and family health issues, De La Cruz decided living a couple hours away from home wasn’t a good idea.
"I figured I wouldn't put a financial burden on [my family] and I would stay here and do community college here," she said.
Her problems at home kept her from withdrawing from classes in person, so she reached out to the university via phone and email.
"I didn't get help from the coordinator, he didn't respond. I didn't get help from the Dean, he didn't respond. And then the counselor just told me I had to come in person," De La Cruz says.
But with no car and a 200-mile commute, De La Cruz said withdrawing in person just wasn’t possible. Months later, she realized the situation wasn’t going away.
"I started getting letters that $4,000 and $5,000 is due for financial for you not keeping up your grades and I was like, how can this happen," she says.
When we contacted the University of Texas about her situation. They quickly researched the issue, waived her tuition bill and made sure her transcript is clear of any negative marks for the missed semester. They said De La Cruz didn’t officially withdraw from the University.
"I know some of it was on my part and some on their part," De La Cruz said.
But the university acknowledged in a statement that the system needs some changes:
“Improvements to the enrollment systems will be addressed so that in the future, if a student does not show up for classes, they will be automatically withdrawn, even if they do not notify us."
De La Cruz said the money she now doesn’t have to pay back will go straight toward her continued education. She’s finishing her up prerequisite courses at a local community college.