BY MATTHEW THOMPSON, News Editor
University President James Gaudino announced at his state of the university address last Thursday that CWU will now offer a monthly payment plan for students to pay tuition.
“Previously students could pay their tuition and fees bills in whole at the beginning of the quarter,” Gaudino said in his speech. “Which places an incredible financial bar on students, and many of them simply can’t clear that bar. So they [drop] out until they have the cash to pay and of course some don’t return.”
Connie Williams, associate vice president of Business and Finance Auxiliaries, said that the administration began working on the monthly payment plan late last spring as a solution for growing numbers of non-returning students.
The monthly payment plan takes the balance of what a student owes when they enroll and divides that number into three monthly payments: one for each month of the quarter.
Students can enroll in the plan by Friday, Oct. 11 and the first monthly payment is due on Oct. 15. Any payments made five days after the due date are considered late and students will be given a $20 late fee.
Adrian Naranjo, director of Student Financial Services, said that one of the benefits of enrolling in the plan is that it greatly reduces late fees that students had incurred before when unable to pay.
“We’d rather have you get a payment plan than default and start getting late fees.” Naranjo said.
When students who are not enrolled in the monthly payment plan miss their due date for tuition, they receive a $50 late fee. If they have still not paid by approximately 30 days after the original due date, they will be given an additional $100 fee.
The CWU administration had considered contracting the payment plan through a third party group, Sallie Mae, but decided that the program would be more efficient and reliable to operate through the university itself.
Williams explained that there was a shared sense of uncertainty on whether the university had the capacity to create and run the payment plan.
“It’s more difficult to administer,” Williams said. “Which is why if [students] do choose to go onto a payment plan, there is a $50 fee, and that’s to cover the additional cost to administer this plan.”
A mass email has been sent to 3,700 students who have balances due of $200 or more informing them that the monthly payment plan option does exist.
Naranjo went on to explain that the plan is “not just for financial aid students,” and that the only stipulation for enrolling in the plan is that the student owes funds to the university.
Students can enroll online through their SAFARI account, and payments can be made online, mailed or delivered in person to the Cashiers office.