Kentucky State University (via Google Maps)

Kentucky State University President Raymond Burse announced Wednesday the school was dropping 654 students for unpaid tuition and room and board payments.

“The institution cannot afford to carry them,” Burse told The Washington Post. “If we had allowed them to stay here, it would have cost the university $6.8 million.”

The percentage of students with unpaid bills equaled about a quarter of the Frankfort, Ken., university’s enrollment. Since Wednesday, 307 students have paid their fees, Burse said.

“We’re getting to the point where we have to make tough decisions,” he said, but, “From the students that I’ve heard from, they understand their fellow students have to meet their obligations.”

Kentucky State University is one of eight public universities in the state, and the smallest, with a fall 2013 enrollment of 2,533 students.