What is the Chancellor’s Office Tax Offset Program (COTOP)?

COTOP is a program that provides Hartnell College with a method of collecting Accounts Receivable balances for student financial aid and non-financial aid obligations. Past due accounts will be submitted by Hartnell College to COTOP for a tax offset (via an intercept by the Franchise Tax Board of any tax refunds, lottery winnings, or unclaimed property that might be owed to you).

Please be aware that this debt will NOT be submitted to any major credit agencies.

Why did I receive this letter?

The letter was to formally notify you of amounts owed to Hartnell College, and that Hartnell College is participating in the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office Tax Offset Program (COTOP).

Prior to submitting an account to COTOP for tax offset, the Hartnell College Administrative Services Office will send out a “due process” collection letter to the last known address of the students, instructing them that they may be sent to COTOP. Students then have 30 days to pay their fees in full or to make payment arrangements before the debtor data is submitted to the State Chancellor’s Office. This is to allow the debtor time to question the debt and/or pay the college before the tax offset process begins through the Franchise Tax Board.

What type of student obligations can Hartnell College submit for tax offset?

Non-resident tuition; enrollment fees; library fines; library replacement material charges; parking fees; parking fines (limited to those fines submitted within 3 years of being incurred); personal checks returned for non-sufficient funds; returned check service charges; child care charges; instructional equipment breakage/replacement charges; health fees; transcript fees; foreign student insurance charges; dental health
center charges; community services fees; lost key charges; transportation charges/fees; audit fees; contract class charges; instructional material fee; damage to campus facilities/equipment charges; student representation fee, student center fee; campus financial aid funds, and the CA Promise Grant Fee Waiver for which the student was not eligible.

What do I need to do if I receive a COTOP letter in the mail?

Please follow the instructions on the letter you have received. You can pay your fees either online through My HARTNELL (Formerly PAWS) Self-Serve Student Planner or by mail. If your fees are not paid in full in the 30 days after the letters are sent out, your information will be submitted to COTOP.

You may submit an Appeal Letter and any supporting documentation to this action.  Please complete Section 1 of the form, including your full name, student ID number, mailing address. You can fax (831-759-6014), email (Admissions@hartnell.edu) or send your request within 30 days from the date of this letter to Hartnell College, Attn: Admission and Records Office/COTOP, 411 Central Ave, CA 93901.

Deadline to submit COTOP Appeal is Friday October 30, 2020.

Upon receipt of your objections and supporting documentation, the Student Petitions Committee will review your request. If the committee finds that the debt is in error, the COTOP request will be withdrawn or the amount will be corrected. If no objections are submitted or if the objections are considered to be insufficient, we will proceed with this action.  

Follow the link for the COTOP Appeal Request Form 

You may contact the Admissions & Records Office at (831) 755-6711 for clarification on what the COTOP entails.

Why has my tax return been taken by Hartnell College?

Your pasts due student fees were submitted to COTOP due to non-payment. Because Hartnell College did not receive anything in writing to dispute the charges explained above, COTOP was used as a collections tool provided by the State of California. If you want to dispute your charges, please follow the instructions above.

How much do I owe?

You can access your student account to check your outstanding balance by logging into  My HARTNELL (Formerly PAWS) Self-Serve Student Planner.  Click on Account Summary by Term to see the semester/year in which fees are owed.


Who To Contact

  • Admissions and Records
    Phone: (831) 755-6711 Fax: (831) 759-6014
    Building: B - Student Services
    Office: B-121
    B - Student Services