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After being told they would be paid Friday, Union Institute staff still wait for a paycheck

The last time salaried employees at Union Institute & University in Walnut Hills received a paycheck was Feb 24.

For six weeks, staff members have been left wondering when the university might be able to pay them.

According to emails from university President Karen Schuster Webb, sent to staff in March, Union Institute will have to wait to receive a series of federal loans and grants before it has enough money to make payroll.

Last week, Webb told staff the school's financial issues were caused in part by students not paying tuition.The university did not enforce its own tuition policy and allowed students who did not pay their bills to remain enrolled in classes, leading to the strain.

On top of not paying staff, Union Institute has not yet sent federal student aid refund checks to students who are expecting to receive one.

Dive deeper: Union Institute & University hasn't paid its employees in nearly a month

An employee with the school filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Federal Student Aid earlier this week over the unfulfilled student refunds. The department says it is looking into the matter.

Employees tell WVXU Webb informed them at the end of March that the university was approved for a line of credit that would be received in the first week of April, and paychecks would arrive Friday, April 7. That didn't happen. Now, some employees are skeptical of what will happen next.

In a story released by our news partner WCPO Thursday, the news station's I-Team says it reached out to an accounting firm that helped Union Institute apply for tax credits last year and asked if the university could receive an advance on a federal grant expected to arrive in late April. The accounting firm said it would be willing to give Union Institute the advance and would reach out to the school's leadership.

After another missed pay period Friday morning, Webb sent an email to staff saying it secured an advance and can start paying employees the week of April 10, but after numerous missed paydays and broken promises, some at the school worry they still won't be paid.

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Despite the financial trouble, it appears that many faculty members have remained at Union Institute and continue to teach without pay, according to one employee who spoke with WVXU.

The university's spring semester ends in about two weeks. Whether or not employees stick around for the start of the summer term beginning in May remains to be seen.

Zack Carreon is Education reporter for WVXU, covering local school districts and higher education in the Tri-State area.