Skip to content

Collection of Debts Owed to the University by Employees

Section 500, Proc. 515
Effective: 6/02/08


To establish a method for the collection of valid debts owed to the university by its employees.

Who is affected:

This policy applies to all regular university employees. Debts owed to the university by employees are covered by the terms of this policy.


    1. Definition of Debt – A debt is an amount or value owed to the university by the employee. Debts may include, but are not limited to, parking fines, library fines, travel advances which have not been appropriately repaid, computer loans, bookstore accounts, and personal telephone usage, including with university cellular phones, and rent for employees living in university housing.


  • Notification – If any department has been owed a debt by an employee for at least three months without obtaining a settlement through normal channels, the department responsible for collecting the debt will notify the employee in writing of the amount owed, the nature of the debt, the date by which payment must be made, and that the payment will be deducted from the employee’s pay if not paid by the stated date. The notice shall give the employee three options: a) pay the debt within 15 days of the receipt of notice; b) authorize the university to withhold from each of the employee’s paychecks an amount agreeable to both parties until the debt is paid in full; or c) request a hearing for the purpose of contesting the debt.



  • Contesting the Debt – The employee may contest the alleged debt by requesting a hearing, within 15 days of the receipt of notice. This hearing may be held under the Tennessee Uniform Administrative Procedures Act (TUAPA), or an informal hearing before the chief business officer (or his/her designee) of the university. The informal hearing option is available only if the employee waives his/her right to a TUAPA hearing.



  • Procedures When the Debt is Found Valid – If the debt is determined to be valid, the employee may choose to pay it immediately or may arrange an amount, acceptable to the university but in no event less than $10, to be withheld from each paycheck until the debt is fully repaid. If the employee refuses to pay the debt or sign an authorized payroll deduction, the department head will notify the Payroll Office that the debt has been determined valid. The Payroll Office will compute a biweekly or monthly deduction amount for repayment, and this amount will be withheld until the debt is satisfied in full. The Payroll Office will not exceed the requirements set out in HR0530 Garnishments. The department to which the debt is owed will prepare a transfer voucher for the Payroll Office each month for the amount deducted, indicating the expense or income account into which the debt is being repaid.



  • Sanctions or Disciplinary Action – If the reason for the debt is a result of a violation of university policy or misuse of university property or accounts, appropriate sanctions depending on the frequency or severity of the offense may issue. Sanctions may include termination of employment.



  • Debts of Terminating Employees – When a terminating employee is determined to have debts to the university, the department(s) to which money is owed will work in conjunction Human Resources and the Payroll Office to take appropriate steps to recover the debt, including withholding the final paycheck.


See also HR0160, Termination of Employment; HR0525, Disciplinary Action; HR0530, Garnishments.

The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System and partner in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway.