This is absolutely absurd.

Little by little, Otersen paid down her bill with earnings from a job at a salon, but she still owed nearly $3,000 when classes ended. When she sought to make another payment in May, she was shocked to learn that her account had been sent to a collection agency that tacked on a fee of 30 percent. She can’t continue at Mason unless she pays it.

Given the fact that tuition increases have skyrocketed over the last 10 years, and given the additional data point that the University of Virginia aggregated a $2.3 billion slush fund at taxpayer expense over the same 10 year period, it strikes the casual observer that something is fundamentally broken when students are arbitrarily saddled with what are in effect 30% tuition hikes when they cannot afford to pay.

Hypothetically, such “slush funds” and tuition hikes were designed to take from those who could afford and give back to those who cannot afford.

Most of the schools interviewed remind us (helpfully) that only 1% of all students seem to fall in this state-sanctioned trap.  Yet for those who are caught in the trap, it doesn’t appear as if either the schools or the Commonwealth — and certainly not the collections agencies — are offering much in terms of consolation.