What would you do if you discovered thousands of dollars mysteriously deposited in your bank account? Would you keep the money or return it to its rightful owner?
That was the question facing roughly 7,000 students at the University of California at Los Angeles last Friday after the school's financial services office accidentally deposited double the correct amount of financial aid into the students' bank accounts, according to CBS2 Los Angeles.
The university said it notified students and warned them that the excess deposits will be reversed, according to CBS2 Los Angeles. Many students voluntarily returned the funds. “In all fairness, I think it should be given back because as it is, we’re in like such a financial crisis with the whole UC system so this would only make it worse,” said student Amer Chaterjee in an interview with CBS2 Los Angeles.
The school's mistake comes at a time when college tuitions are rising across the country. Tuition at public universities rose an average of 5.7 percent for out-of-state students, and 8.3 percent for in-state students, during the 2011-2012 academic year, while they were up 4.5 percent for private colleges, according to a report from the College Board.
The story is worse in the California, where undergraduate tuition for the current academic year was $12,192, an 18 percent increase over the previous year's tuition, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
The tuition increases have forced students to take on more debt to finance their education. In 2010, Two-thirds of college seniors graduated with loans, and those loans averaged $25,250, according to the Project on Student Loan Debt. Too bad those loans can't just be returned like UCLA's erroneous financial aid deposits.