University billing moving away from snail-mail

Missy Pollock

Receiving e-mails about tuition not only help students, but makes life easier for the Bursar’s Office as well.

“The whole university is moving towards online technology,” Bursar Les Carter said. “The process is more efficient, reduces postage and helps tighten the budget.”

Electronic billing not only saves time and money, but it saves a lot of waiting in lines. The lines in Michael Schwartz this fall were much smaller compared to last year, said Sara Lynn Charleston, manager of the Bursar’s Office.

“E-billing keeps you up-to-date; all you have to do is check your e-mail,” said Dustin Bowling, freshman pre-business management major. “I just gave my parents my password and they paid it through my account.”

Students have the option of making a parent an authorized user to view their statement. Of the 30,031 bills sent in the summer, 1,997 parents viewed the bills.

There were a few minor glitches with the new system. One issue was the number of students who had problems viewing the e-bill with a Mac. No one even thought about that, Carter said.

Charleston said the problems are still being resolved. The Bursar’s Office has a record of when the system is down and can verify what problems students are having, she said.

“In the beginning, it screwed up,” said Ryan Schindler, freshman pre-business management major. “It was messed up, but I called and they reset it, and it was fixed right away. It worked perfectly fine after that.”

The Bursar’s Office even knows how many times a student has looked at their bill. The first statement e-bill, for students with remaining balances, was mailed out last Friday. Before the e-mails went out to inform students their current bill was available for payment, 2,754 students and 352 parents had already viewed their statements.

“Students of today are online folks,” Charleston said. “It’s custom to go online to get information. It’s not realistic to go door-to-door.”

It’s every student’s job to check their e-mails regularly. Through the “electronic communications policy,” the university expects students to check their e-mail frequently. Because some communication is time sensitive, the university recommends the official e-mail account to be checked at least twice a week.

The Bursar’s Office is one of the few offices that mail out on a regular basis. Charleston said it is very hard to get current address information, and it is required for the envelope to have “return to sender” so the U.S. Postal Service can’t just forward it to a new address.

The Bursar’s Office will decide later this fall whether to switch entirely to e-billing, Carter said. With the switch to e-billing, the Bursar’s Office could save $35,000 annually in postage alone.

Of the 30,031 bills produced this summer, 25,997 were looked at online by students.

“We are still in that middle phase where the students are getting more comfortable about the e-billing,” Carter said.

Contact student affairs reporter Missy Pollock at [email protected].