Erroneous charges appear on campus students’ CalCentral accounts

Originally published on October 12, 2016 for The Daily Californian

When campus freshman Jocelyn Lopez logged on to her CalCentral account Friday, she found that the $2906.25 for room and board fees that she expected to pay in installments across the next three months now appeared to be due in full.

Charges that were marked overdue appeared on approximately 550 undergraduate students’ CalCentral accounts Friday, according to campus spokesperson Adam Ratliff. Ratliff said in an email that the payment adjustments were unanticipated and occurred after the reallocation of scholarship funding resources in SIS Campus Solutions.

“Payments were unapplied from past tuition charges and reapplied to future housing charges on certain invoices,” Ratliff said in the email. “This makes it appear that the student has past due payments for tuition, which actually have already (been) paid.”

Lopez said that her CalCentral shows that she has overdue payments for her CalSO, tuition and health insurance fees, which she said were supposed to be paid through her financial aid in August. Lopez was worried that she would have to take out a loan, because her family can’t afford to make the entire payment.

“We’re a low-income family. It’s just not possible for us to pay all this money as soon as possible,” Lopez said. “I just hope that this gets fixed or at least Berkeley can send an email, a very detailed email about what’s going on with the situation.”

Ratliff said students should refrain from making these payments until they are notified that the issue has been resolved. As of press time, these students have not yet been contacted, but they will receive special communication from campus once their student accounts are updated, according to Ratliff.

After getting notifications about the charges, students wanted to confirm that they weren’t the only ones receiving these notifications and posted on Facebook to figure out whether or not it was a mistake. Lopez said she was happy to find other students who had the same issue, but she was still disappointed about the situation.

“I know that tons of other freshmen have gotten these arbitrary charges that in no way are actually real because we cleared all of our August charges to register (for classes),” said campus freshman Sofia Guo, another impacted student. “I hope it gets resolved soon so it doesn’t affect any of our registration for next semester.”

Ratliff said in the email that the campus is currently figuring out the cause and scope of the issue, and students with other financial aid or billing questions should create a case in Cal Student Central.

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