Drexel University will switch from annual billing to quarterly billing in fall 2014, President John A. Fry announced in an email to the student body Nov. 19.
The email explained the impact of the new system, which only applies to full-time undergraduate students. Amy Bosio, vice president for financial planning, described quarterly billing as a “pay-as-you-go” system in which students pay as they attend each quarter. The bill may vary from term to term, depending on how the term is spent. During class terms, students will pay both tuition and general university fees. Students on a co-op term, however, will pay only general university fees. Overall financial aid and the total cost of tuition will not be affected by the new system.
“We want to make sure that you pay no more tuition under this methodology than you would have under the old system,” Bosio said.
All students will receive a letter in December detailing their individualized financial plan under the new system. The letter is one in a series of measures taken to ensure the smooth transition from annual to quarterly billing. Staff members will also reach out to the student body through information sessions, online videos and one-to-one help sessions. Bosio explained that a number of departments are involved in the transition, including the Office of Information Resources and Technology, University Communications and Drexel Central.
“It’s a collaborative team across various functions in the University pulling resources together,” Bosio said.
Fry explained that the change from annual to quarterly billing is in direct response to student concerns. Annual billing is somewhat unique to Drexel, so parents with children at other colleges were confused by the Drexel system. Quarterly billing, on the other hand, is more in line with other universities and is expected to simplify the billing process. The new system is also expected to ease the process of changing majors by eliminating back billing. Parents and students also complained that annual billing requires payments for classes that students have not yet taken, as the bill must be paid at the start of each academic year. Bosio explained that quarterly billing counteracts this problem.
“The point is you will be paying for as many credits as you consume,” she said.
The student response to this upcoming change has been positive but also apprehensive.
“It seems like a pretty logical system overall, but with all the different types of schedules that exist at Drexel, I have my doubts that it’s going to be implemented smoothly,” junior biology major Ariel Fishbein said.
Bosio also anticipated that some difficulties would arise with the launch of the new system. One of the main problems, she said, will be students’ concern that their tuition or financial aid will be affected. She hopes that the measures taken to inform students of the change will assure students that tuition and financial aid will not be affected by the implementation of a quarterly billing system. Instead, financial aid will be distributed over all the terms in which students are enrolled.
“Just make sure you plan appropriately for that,” she cautioned.