Questrom senior’s incident with Student Accounting Services highlights the struggles of low-income students – The Daily Free Press

Emily Mercedes Nuñez, currently senior BU. Nuñez was denied his transcript due to a financial hold policy. PHOTO BY MARTHA MERROW/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

Emily Nuñez, a senior at the Questrom School of Business, requests that Boston University re-evaluate Kathleen Hynes’ position as Director of Student Accounting Services and that Hynes be placed on leave while this re-evaluation takes place.

In an April 2 Facebook post, Nuñez recounted her failed attempts to obtain an official copy of her transcript to include in her Teach for America application. She wrote that Hynes told her that if she was unable to pay the balance of her tuition, she should not be at BU. The public post received over 400 reactions and over 150 shares in three days.

In an emailed statement, BU spokesman Colin Riley said the university had contacted

Nuñez to ensure she has the necessary transcript and support to continue her application process.

“Looking at this, it’s clear that the university wasn’t as flexible or responsive as we should have been with [Nuñez],” he wrote.

Nuñez told the Daily Free Press that she spoke to Hynes after talking to two other people about student accounting services who couldn’t help her.

When she spoke to Hynes, Nuñez said, her transcript request was immediately denied and she was told that if she couldn’t pay, she shouldn’t attend Boston University and maybe should. consider public education.

“That’s really where I exploded,” Nuñez said. “I couldn’t believe someone in his place just told me that I shouldn’t be at Boston University because I hadn’t paid my balance. To like [as] if my hard work – all the effort I put in to get good grades – didn’t matter then.

Nuñez said she was so frustrated and upset she started crying and yelling at Hynes, who she says didn’t respond.

“I said, ‘How dare you? How callous you are to tell me that,” Nuñez said. “I have every right to be here, like any student who has paid their tuition in full. I said, ‘You can’t base that on my inability to pay because I ‘have every right to be here and I’ve worked hard to be here.’

Hynes could not be reached after multiple requests for comment.

Nuñez is a first generation student and daughter of immigrants. She said BU had been her dream school since her second year of high school and her interaction with Hynes had “shattered” her belief that attending BU was her best academic decision.

“Having her tell me I shouldn’t be at BU is not fair,” Nuñez said. “My whole family worked so hard to get me through BU. They don’t know my story, they don’t know me.

Explaining policies to students in distress can be a difficult task for university employees, Riley said, but they do their best to help students deal with the difficulties they face.

“[Student Accounting Services] employees work very hard to be as helpful as possible in explaining university policies,” Riley said, “and I know how unsettling this can be for people, especially students dealing with the stress of classes or to their personal financial situation.

Marissa Ostrovitz, 22, graduated from the College of Arts and Sciences last year and is currently a graduate student at the University of Haifa in Israel. She commented on Nuñez’s post saying the same thing happened to her.

Ostrovitz told the Daily Free Press that when she was admitted to BU as a transfer student, she knew she would struggle to pay for her education as she would be solely responsible for paying her tuition. But, she says, she thought a BU education would be a way for her to break out of the cycle of poverty.

While most employers accepted unofficial transcripts if official transcripts weren’t available, Ostrovitz said, it’s embarrassing for students to begin an application process by explaining that their financial hardship was so great. that they could not get a copy of their official transcript.

“We are doing the best we can,” she said. “Most of the time we’re proud of ourselves, but there are days when it feels like we’re on the hamster wheel.”

Ostrovitz said she didn’t know how much BU could do to help students in a similar situation outside of removing the financial hold on transcripts, but that it would be nice if there was more recognition of lengths that some students go through to attend. DRANK.

Marc Prophet, a sophomore at CAS, said he wasn’t personally familiar with the financial hold policy, but it was “uncool”.

“You worked for these ranks and you should have access to these ranks regardless of financial holdings or other positions,” he said.

Kristan F. Talley