Credit cards denied
Beginning Monday, AU will stop accepting credit cards as payments for tuition, fees, room and board , although they will still be used for other campus services including EagleBuck$ and purchases of books.
According to Assistant Vice President of Finance Doug Kudravetz, credit cards were used as payments in $50 million for tuition.
The ability to accept credit cards led to surcharges approashing $1 million per year, Kudravetz said. Eliminating the system is a way to reduce costs and ultimately keep tuition down, he said.
Other universities that have abandoned the credit cards service include George Washington, Georgetown and Tufts Universities and the University of Massachusetts.
"Some universities have issues with the surcharges, that's why they are dropping the credit card services," said Janet Yang of Visa.
According to Kudravetz, Visa and MasterCard customers made up about 50% of cardholders at AU.
"There has not been a large response to the issue but we have received a few emails from parents and students questing why we stopped the service," Kudravetz said. "We mentioned that we were not the only university doing this and encouraged them to use our other methods of payment."
Two alternative payment methods to the credit card that are provided to students are E-Check and the American Installment Plan.
E-Check, a new feature, will allow students to make payments online by electronically submitting a charge to their checking or savings accounts.
Under the AIP, undergraduate, full-time graduate and law students can pay charges with a ten- or 12-month payment plan.
There is also a plan available for part-time graduate students.
"We've explored this idea almost every year over the last ten years. It was addressed during the 2004-2005 budget that went to the Board of Trustees," Kudravetz said. "The most important thing that we want to do is sufficiently reduce the cost where we can and hold down tuition increases."
Some students have a different view.
"I think it's ridiculous that they are getting rid of credit cards," senior Hamad Alhaj said. "Suppose students or parents don't have enough funds. Credit cards allow them to get those funds at another time and they are easier to pay with anyways."
Alhajused his credit card to pay for an extra class and was urged to pay by check or cash instead.
"Every year they get more and more students. There should be a lot of money," he said. "We should be going along with technology and not against it"