The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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No cash, no contact, no classes

Enrollment Services seeks students with unpaid tuition

When senior film major Trisha Henson began receiving e-mailsfrom Division of Enrollment Services about her unpaid studentaccount, she became annoyed.

“I’ve gotten like 800 of the exact samee-mail,” Henson said.

Enrollment Services sent e-mails to students who had registeredbut still had balances remaining on their student account afterDec. 15, the deadline to pay tuition for the spring.

“Some students are not returning, so it is a way to cancelregistration and free up seats,” said Pat Woods, executivedirector of Enrollment Services.

Right now, there are eight students who will not be returningthis semester.

In addition to the e-mails, Woods said that her staff has evenbeen working weekends, sometimes until 9 p.m., to contact studentsat home.

Henson didn’t understand why she received these e-mailswhen her loan covered the remaining amount.

“They don’t put the loans [on Access], so it lookslike you owe them $5,000, and I’m freaking out because Ithink I’m going to be dropped out all of my classes,”Henson said.

Loans aren’t disbursed until 10 days before the start ofclasses. On Jan. 2, Woods requested a report on unpaid accountsfrom the technology team at Enrollment Services.

Woods and her staff reviewed the report, and if the unpaidbalance was due to a loan not showing up on the student account,the case was sent over to the financial aid department.

“We try our best to find the student,” said AnnaGomez, assistant director of Student Financials.

Gomez said that once students are found, she asks them whetherthey are returning to school.

She then helps them figure out how they are going to pay for theremaining balance.

If all resources have been exhausted, the student will have tocancel classes and wait until next semester to re-enroll.

Gomez said that students need to keep track of their financialaid and make sure that they guarantee their loans online ontime.

“There are 10,000 students. They need to be on top ofthis. We cannot just … call every student and let themknow,” Gomez said.

Other changes made paying difficult this semester.

Students or their parents can go online and write an e-check orpay with a credit card. Henson planned to charge the balance to acredit card, but this year she was unable to because of a newprocess.

The university made the decision to eliminate credit cardpayments directly to the school in November because the credit cardcompanies charge the recipient of the money about 2 percent.

Woods said that about 50 percent of students and parents paytuition with checks.

Rather than have everyone pay higher tuition to offset the lossto credit card companies, the university teamed up with infiNETSolutions, an online billing company.

Instead of the university paying a percent of each charge toprocess a credit card, only those who pay with credit cards willhave to pay a 2.75 percent processing fee to infiNET. SMU receivesnone of this money.

The problem for Henson and others is that currently infiNET hasonly secured a contract with Mastercard. Visa, Discover andAmerican Express cards aren’t accepted.

Woods said the company is in the process of pursuing othercredit card companies.

Gomez said that students should still attend their classes ifthey haven’t paid, but know that they have a way to pay it.If a student does get dropped from classes, they would have tore-enroll with the registrar’s office and choose from classesthat are still available.

Woods urges students who are in danger of class cancellation tocheck Access to see how much they owe, consult parents to figureout who will pay and contact their financial aid adviser.

Woods said that although the lines will be long, and the phoneswill be extremely busy, “rarely ever do you find a closeddoor.”

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