President John A. Fry informed students via email Nov. 19 that the University will move from annual billing to quarterly billing starting in fall 2014, in response to student feedback. Fry stated that the new system will increase academic flexibility, simplify the billing process, and reduce the administrative burden on students and their families. Students should be fully aware of how the new system will work and how it will affect them individually.
The new system is being described as a “pay-as-you-go” system. Instead of students being billed for the entire academic year in the fall, students will now be billed each quarter according to their respective schedules. This means when students are enrolled in classes, they will be charged tuition and general University fees. When students are on co-op, they will only be charged general University fees. The University has stated that this change will not affect students’ financial aid or overall cost of tuition.
A positive aspect of the new system is that students will no longer have to pay in advance for classes they have yet to take. Students who take some time off, either voluntarily or involuntarily, won’t have to worry about reimbursements or tuition adjustments. Because students are paying for classes as they take them, this makes the billing adjustment process simpler when students switch majors.
The billing office will send individualized letters to all affected students in December, detailing their financial plan for the 2014-15 academic year under the new system. The information will be based on students’ current plan of study, financial aid and financing options. Students and parents should take it upon themselves to review the new plan together and reach out to Drexel Central immediately with any questions or concerns. Students and parents should also take advantage of special information sessions that Drexel Central will host to ease the transition process. Even though the new billing system will not go into effect until fall 2014, it will be better to handle any possible issues earlier rather than later.
In a previous editorial on the opening of Drexel Central, we stated that even with the success of merging several offices together and cross-training staff to ease the financial process for students, the University should continue to improve how all Drexel-related business is handled. According to Fry, the change in our billing system is a direct response to student and parent feedback, and it demonstrates the University’s commitment to listening and responding to student concerns.
We’re glad to see this change happening and eager to see how it plays out over the next year. There’s always a heavy potential for problems to arise with transitions like this, but Drexel Central is taking all the right steps to minimize them. As long as students and the administration both keep lines of communication open and active throughout the process, it should work out well in the end.