Bursar’s Office switches to only electronic bills

Shantae Rollins

Students to be charged for paying with a credit card

Beginning this spring semester, students will only be able to view their tuition bill online and online credit card transactions will be an extra charge.

Kent State is eliminating paper bills to help reduce university costs and increase efficiency. Effective Dec. 1, the Bursar’s office will no longer distribute bills through the mail.

Leslie Carter, Kent State University Bursar, said that the transition to electronic bills is the result of budget constraints and the dire state of the economy.

“A lot has to do with the economy and the university budget as a whole,” Carter said. “We cannot cut academic programs or student services, so this is the best way to reduce costs right now.”

In addition to eliminating paper statements, students choosing to pay online via credit or debit card will be assessed a 2.9 percent fee for processing. Carter said if a student has a bill for $100 and pays by credit card, he only pays an additional $2.90 for the transaction.

However, Visa cards will no longer be acceptable methods of online payment because that particular company requires customers to pay a standard charge on all transaction amounts.

“If one student owes $25 and another owes $50, Visa would assess the same fee,” Carter said. “Rather than do that, there is only a percentage of the transaction assessed.”

Carter said the university made the decision not to accept Visa anymore in order to be fair to students in these cases.

In the past, Kent State has taken on the costs charged by credit and debit card companies, resulting more than $1 million of incurred costs for the university. Kent State will not receive any percentage of the assessment fee. CashNet, the processing company for Kent State, will directly pay the card


Carter said electronic billing is not a new development in the Bursar’s office.

“We’ve been doing e-bills since the fall of 2004,” he said. “From Sept. 1, 2007, to Sept. 2, 2008, we’ve taken 53,000 online payments.”Switching exclusively to e-bills will also save the university time.

Carter said it would take approximately 14 hours just to print two-sided statements for nearly 26,000 students for Spring 2009 and would take the cooperation of staff and Information Technology employees from multiple university departments.

Stina Olafsdottir, manager of student accounts receivable, said the Bursar’s office is making plans to communicate the change to students and parents.

“We’re going back to everyone who has paid in the past by credit card and send out postcards to notify them of the change,” Olafsdottir said. “We also want to encourage students to tell their parents about the change.”

Students may view their most accurate account balance using FlashLine and can make payments at the Bursar’s Web site.

“Students and parents can both go to the Web site and find a Q&A section and Web shortcuts with directions on how to make a payment,” Olafsdottir said. “It’s more convenient because you can pay online any time of day.”

Contact student affairs reporter Shantae Rollins at [email protected].