Letters to the editor: Kent State should pick up the tab

Dear Editor,

Recently, I had heard mumbling of billing changes and finally got a chance to look at them in depth. While the University rarely cares to acknowledge the opinions of their customers, I feel I need to express my concern. Kent has made the decision to move to electronic billing. Congrats – this should save on employee/paper handling costs. On the surface, this seems to fit in with President Lefton’s e-mail where he promised to assess university spending and pay special attention to our budget in these challenging times. The question becomes: Who are these times more challenging for? The students or the university?

As an “A” student working two jobs to pay for full-time tuition, you can understand my shock when I heard we are being charged 2.9 percent to pay our bills online with a credit card. This factors out to about a $126 convenience fee (the equivalent of two months of my groceries). It’s downright insulting. If Kent State will promote Flashline as the only method of payment, then they need to pick up the tab. Driving an hour to the campus in the middle of break to drop off my tuition is a pain. I imagine Kent State hopes it’s enough of a pain that I just pay this new fee.

You’d think that for nearly $ 9,000 a year, Kent could pay its own service charges. What’s next, will I be paying Kent’s utility bills directly? The larger problem is that this decision comes on the heels of other terrible ideas. For example, the Campaign for Change, where Students are promised a shot at a scholarship if they donate money to the university. Truly, a new level of student manipulation. These decisions aren’t justified if we continue to spend millions on extravagant replay screens for the football stadium and unnecessary flat-screen TVs for Franklin Hall. I could go with examples for hours. It’s about time we did more with less instead of more with more.

Is this really the best we can do? We are a campus of educators and brilliant minds, can’t we find better solutions to cutting cost than billing students more? Because, that’s exactly what this 2.9 percent is. It’s another sneaky, immoral way to squeeze the students. This is not the time to raise prices on anything. Rather, let’s be willing to work less wastefully and make the most of our student and taxpayer dollars.

Kevin DeOliveira

junior electronic media production major