E-bill transition being made smoothly

Kelly Petryszyn

University saves more than $1 million by not absorbing fee

Kent State’s first semester of complete electronic billing went smoothly.

“As a whole, the process went very well,” Bursar Leslie Carter said. “We got advertisements out so students were aware and explained to students and parents that this is to save money.”

Kent State sent out 28,370 e-bills for the Spring 2009 semester as opposed to paper bills used in previous semesters.

Here are a few things students should know about e-bills:

&bull E-bills are static. This means that the bill is a PDF of the same bill a student would receive in the mail. The bill is not updated constantly. To check the most up-to-date version, visit FlashLine.


&bull Tuition for an undergrad non-resident is $4,215.00. 2.9 percent is $122.24

&bull A $30 parking ticket, 2.9 percent is $0.87

&bull A $5 library fine, 2.9 percent is $0.15

&bull A $75 approved course fee, 2.9 percent is $2.18

&bull A $10 Health Center charge, 2.9 percent is $0.29

&bull Standard Double Room is $2,290, 2.9 percent is $66.41

&bull Basic Meal Plan is $1,460, 2.9 percent is $42.34

Links for More Information:



&bull Credit or debit card payments are no longer accepted in person or over the telephone. Payments of this nature are to be made online with the charge of a 2.9 percent convenience fee.

&bull The Bursar’s office will no longer accept Visa for payments. A check issued by Visa can be used, but fees may apply.

&bull The convenience fee can be avoided. A student can pay by electronic check, money order, cashier’s check or with cash in person at the Bursar’s office.

There are mixed reactions among students.

“I think the new interface is very good,” said Brian Marsh, sophomore industrial technology major. “It’s easier for me to show my parents.”

Others weren’t happy with the extra fees the office charged.

“I think the fee is unfair,” said Kate McClary, sophomore art education major. “(They) should allow Visa.”

Stina Olafsdottir, manager of student accounts, said the Bursar’s office expected some negative reaction.

“Some people were unhappy with the fee,” she said. “(We) worked out problems to make the transition easier.”

The Bursar’s office worked to educate students about the change through postcards, fliers and e-mail reminders. Some students, however, failed to get the message. There were unprepared students who called the last day of payment and said they used Visa and weren’t sure what to do next, Olafsdottir said. These issues were resolved by extending payment and assessing late fees.

“I only have Visa,” McClary said. “I ended up having to use a check – there are ways to work around it.”

She said she may have to open up a credit card just for tuition and deal with paying the fee, but it would be easier for her if she could use Visa.

Carter reminded students that they can pay electronically with a check or bring cash to the Bursar’s office to avoid the convenience fee.

According to the Kent State Bursar Web site, students at other colleges, including Cleveland State University, Bowling Green State University, Miami University, Ohio University and the University of Toledo, are also paying the convenience fee. The University of Akron implemented the policy Dec. 15, 2008.

The process has been received positively at Cleveland State, said Veronica Herschbach, Cleveland State Bursar. At first there was an outcry from students who wanted to pay with a credit card, but now students are aware of alternate forms of payment.

The Akron policy was met with mixed reaction at first as well.

“Initially there were very aggressive comments,” Akron Bursar Denise Moss said. “Once they (students) heard the facts and how much it was costing the university, I think they were receptive to it.”

The reactions were stronger to the university for not accepting Visa than for the other changes, she said.

Akron plans to switch completely to electronic billing effective Fall 2009. In 2003, the university tried to introduce paperless billing, but it wasn’t met with a positive reaction because parents couldn’t access student accounts, Moss said. Now parents can sign on as an authorized user, and electronic billing is expected to be met with a better reaction. Akron saved around $1 million by no longer absorbing the convenience fee.

Kent State already allows parents to register as an authorized user for student accounts.

Kent State saved more than

$1 million as well. Through going paperless, the university saves even more money and is more environmentally conscious.

This means that instead of spending money, the savings get reallocated in the university, Olafsdottir said.

Contact student affairs reporter Kelly Petryszyn at [email protected].