Bill would provide more choices

Editorial Staff and Editorial Staff

An Ohio House of Representatives bill that would allow students at state universities to use their BiG charge–or similar credit options–off campus is in the works.

If passed, House bill 162 would require all state universities to allow students the option to use the form of financial credit at locations on or off campus.

The bill is heavily favored by a majority of the Ohio House of Representatives and it will probably be favored by students at BGSU as well.

It seems like the bill would be a good idea to give students more options and a variety of places to go for academic items as well as food.

One of the benefits to this new form of payment is that it would minimize the amount of credit cards that students would have to carry.

If the University Bookstore is temporarily out of a book that a student needs, rather than charging it on their credit card at SBX, 530 E. Wooster St., or the Bee Gee Bookstore, 1424 E. Wooster St., they would be able to use their BiG charge.

The only problem that the University might run into if this bill is adopted would be the onset of another financial strain.

Earning $6 million in BiG charge transactions in 2001 and another $6 million through organizational purchases in the same year, the University has a lot of money to lose with the passage of this legislation.

Granted, businesses would have to pay the University a certain percentage of the profits that they gain from the use of the BiG charge, but it must be asked– Who would determine what is a reasonable percentage for the University to get?

Also, would the percentage that the University receives be enough to get Dining Services out of debt?

Or would it merely create new financial troubles as the University would now see an increase in competition with off campus venues?

The proposed measure seems like a good idea, but seeing that the University is already strapped for cash, it might not be timely to introduce it at this point or even in the near future.

Another problem that might arise from using BiG charge, or similar credit options off campus would be that Dining Services would receive very little or no business after the bill was enabled. With the introduction of Flexfunds, the University has attempted to gain back some of the money that they lost in the process of opening the new Union and Wendy’s.

The use of BiG charge cards off campus could also create fear that Dining Services could possibly go out of business, or loose more money than it would like.

While the bill is a long way from being law, there are a lot of pluses to this double edged sword known as House bill 162.