The beginning of a new semester coincides with the unfortunate task of paying up the tuition bill. But, for the second semester in a row, students who pay their tuition with a credit card will pay more than those who do not.
They will be charged a 1.9 percent convenience fee when using a credit card to pay for tuition. The fee is supposedly meant to help university officials cope with the workload associated with managing the credit card system. However, at a time of economic hardship, the fee is an unwarranted snatch from students, many of whom live in already precarious economic conditions.
Texas State’s credit card fee, a charge to students for fulfilling an already exhausting requirement, is disappointing. Instead of providing an encouraging environment that promotes education, it seems university officials decided the higher priority went to the credit card fee. It is pivotal to note the fee was implemented at one of the worst possible times for students.
The economic downturn has a disproportional impact on the ability of students to find employment. Meanwhile, in the last session of the Texas legislature, lawmakers cut financial aid to almost the bare bone. In turn, the credit card fee will only become another stumbling block, even if small, on the road of higher education.
The fee would also be, through the use of credit cards, inescapable because these payments are not allowed in person. Furthermore, Texas State no longer accepts Visa because the company prohibits charging percentage fees.
According to the Student Business Services FAQ page online, university officials initialized the credit card fee because “credit card usage and regulations have increased tremendously over the past few years.” In this matter, it is somewhat inexplicable why Texas State would be unable to continue to perform the workload. For one, credit cards had been used at Texas State for the last decade to pay tuition costs. Furthermore, if a corner grocery store can effectively accept and manage credit cards, it is beyond explanation as to why a major university would not be able to do so.
The FAQ also stated that due to the volume of work, Texas State once “considered dropping credit card payments for tuition and student fee payments.” In a sure sign of heartwarming generosity, Texas State reverted when it considered how “families appreciate the convenience of [the credit card] paying mechanism” and instead opted to place a convenience fee. The fact that the university was willing to do without credit cards, an important factor of modern capitalism, is captivating and quite concerning.
Imagine a university without electronic payment methods. The alternatives would have been to pay in checks or cash – which means mail early or wait in long lines with a lot of cash to pay up in person.
In truth, it seems the credit card fee was built up as a way to garner more funds with a half-veiled explanation of overwhelming workload. Instead of overwhelmingly charging students, university officials would be better to find another method. Students should not be punished for doing their duty and paying their tuition bill. Having a convenience fee for paying with a credit card is as absurd as charging extra for paying with cash because the cashier must put the bills in the right place.
The simple truth is the convenience of using a credit card to pay tuition costs does not merit a payment fee. In a way, it is an unfortunate method to collect funds from students in order to do something as simple as paying with a credit card.