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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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University adds convenience fee

Students who pay tuition with a credit card now face an additional 2.5 percent fee for the transaction.

The change took effect July 1 and resulted from years of extra fees absorbed by the University. Before the change, the University paid $700,000 a year in merchant fees to allow students to use their credit cards on campus.

The merchant fee is accrued when students pay for anything on campus with a credit card.

Instead of making more budget cuts, the University opted to go through Sallie Mae – a government sponsored entity – which allows students to use their credit cards on campus.

But with that convenience comes a charge.

The convenience fee is charged to the patrons credit statement at the end of the month.

Students who do not want to pay the additional fee that’s accompanied by using a credit card are left with an array of payment options including automatic debit, check and cash.

Those who accumulate air miles or get rebates from their credit card companies lose the benefits when they use those alternative options.

Gaylyn Finn, associate vice president for finance-treasurer said that this decision is better for the University.

“We’ve given people multiple alternatives,” Finn said. “The credit card is still there but you have to pay more for it.”

Since implementation of the transaction fee, Finn has seen a jump in the number of people that use the automated process.

“We’ve seen an substantial increase in the people using the automated process by entering their checking account number and using an electronic check,” Finn said.

Negative reactions to the change from students and parents have been low.

“I’ve talked to three or four parents who were quite upset about it,” Finn said. “A couple of them generally understood. They just didn’t like it.”

Nancy Colsman, Bursar, sent numerous notifications to inform both parents and students of the additional fees.

“We sent out two e-mails to all the people who are registered,” Colsman said. “Any brochure that was printed in late spring through now that had the old information on it, we changed. Wherever we could, whatever went out, we changed it.”

According to Colsman, brochures and posters were even updated to reflect this change.

BGSU charges less than other local universities.

The University of Toledo started charging 2.67 percent to students last fall when they made a similar change.

Brenda Holderman, Interim Bursar for the University of Toledo, said that the transition was smooth.

“We did have a few complaints to the transaction fee,” Holderman said. “Those who paid with a credit card now used the web check, a web based credit system to do a debit to their checking or savings account.”

Stormi Moskal, a doctoral candidate in communication studies, said the 2.5 percent fee could potentially discourage students from using their credit card and force them to find other ways to pay for their bill.

“If it discourages them perhaps they will find the other sources that are out there. Although it’s gonna stink to do it when you’re in desperate situations, maybe they won’t be as apt to pull out their credit card at a convenience,” Moskal said.

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