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Since this was a private university and I am assuming that this is a tuition bill, then this would fall under the civil statute of limitations for breach of contract. In NY, that means that they have up to 6 years to bring an action for breach of contract and sue you. After that, they are out of luck.
So that debt would have expired sometime in 2008 and would now be unenforceable. The only thing that they can do now is refuse to give you your transcripts unless you paid them.