New billing system causes confusion

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The day comes every semester. Students line up outside Aquinas Hall, write out a check and pay their tuition bill.

Lauren Uhl processes payments at the Career Development Center. But one payment she forgot to have processed was her own tuition bill.

“I’m mad because it’s not like I couldn’t pay. I just forgot,” Uhl said.

Now she wonders how much her late fee will be.

In the past, students have always received paper statements in the mail that reminded them to pay their tuition on time. This June, the university eliminated the paper statements and took everything to the Web with multiple e-mail reminders to pay their tuition online with the new eBilling system.

But even with multiple reminders, recognizing challenges to the new system is still a priority for the Business Office.

Business Office Director Pamela Peterson said there is normally a grace period for those who may have just put their payment in the mail on Sept. 19 or if the pay day falls on a Saturday.

“This time it will be a little bit longer,” Peterson said. “Probably ’til the end of the week and I think that will help with some of the frustrations with people getting acclimated with the new system.”

Even though the office was lenient this time, Peterson said students need to know the new system is here to stay.

“E-mail is the priority form of communication here,” Peterson said. “So next time we probably won’t go to the extent of printing out postcards and things like that but we do have the ability to send reminder e-mails.”

And paying attention to e-mail is exactly what Uhl will do in the future.

“If only I remembered, it would have been done on time,” she said.

Pauleen Le can be reached at

3 Replies to “New billing system causes confusion”

  1. Hey Saint Thomas, I’m just curious, how much of that 2.75% “transaction fee” for credit card payments gets kicked back to you? Pretty big amount I’m guessing, because the fee a normal credit card company would charge for a large transaction is a tiny fraction of what this monstrosity is. Let’s say I have a 15,000 dollar tuition bill for this semester. That’s four hundred and twelve dollars that this “Payscam” system makes in almost pure profit. But I’m sure that’s but pocket change for all of us. After all, we’re college students! We have tons of money at our disposal! And as for not accepting Visa? Oh that’s quite alright. Nobody uses Visa, right? Saint Thomas, it’s great to see you always have our best interests at heart.

  2. The University of St. Thomas does not have the ability to directly accept payments made by credit card for tuition and fees; therefore as an added convenience (and optional method of payment) for students and families, UST has contracted with a third party vendor to accept Master Card, Discover and American Express card payments on-line. The university gets absolutely no revenue, nor any portion of the 2.75% convenience fee that is assessed to the credit card user by the vendor. VISA’s rules will not permit our vendor to charge a service fee exclusive to credit card payments. In other words, VISA’s rule would require the university to charge the same fee for electronic checking or savings payments (ACH), which UST has offered free of charge for several years now, and will continue to do so free of charge. It does not seem fair to add unnecssary costs to those students or their families who choose to pay via ACH. If you would like more information regarding the new eBilling and ePayment system at the university, please visit the Business Office webpage for eBilling FAQ’s and more information.

  3. Pam,
    I am curious to see if you also know that the Visa agreement does allow for a “cash discount” for those that do choose to pay for items with something other than a credit card.  Please see this link:
    That page also mentions the no surcharge laws that are in effect in 10 states.  Since we do have some students from these states, this service is in clear violation of the state laws where those students are citizens.  This service is unjust, and St. Thomas needs to find an alternative.  If you look at this link:
    you will see that in 2007, 16% of the money that St. Thomas received stayed in a bank account.  For you to say that St. Thomas cannot absorb the 1.5% average cost of a Visa transaction is completely ludicrous.  

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