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Students who have not arranged payment for this semester still have time to clear financial holds on their accounts before priority registration for the fall begins on April 2, avoiding any last-minute stress or potential delays.
Many students wait until the end of the semester to make financial arrangements for tuition, forcing them to rush to pay the University before priority registration ends.
Jene Gabbard, senior director of financial aid and scholarships, said this happens all too often and urged students to be more responsible for their accounts. “We’re going to remind you, but there comes a point when the reminders stop,” she said. “We’re here to help them take care of these responsibilities beforehand.”
Payments for the spring semester were due on the 12th day of classes, Jan. 25, at which time students were required to either pay tuition in full or arrange a payment plan on HuskyNet. These plans, which were available for the spring semester starting Nov. 22, allow students to divide their balances into multiple payments throughout the semester. Students who did not meet this deadline faced holds on their accounts that will remain in place until they make financial arrangements for tuition.
Erinn Hughes, registrar, said most registration delays can be attributed to financial holds on student accounts and that students can avoid this if they stay informed about deadlines. “People don’t really get upset until they can’t register,” she said.
Despite the passing of the Jan. 25 deadline, students can still sign up for a two-part installment plan on HuskyNet that would require half of a student’s balance to be paid on March 5 and the remainder a month later. If a student does not pay tuition by the end of the semester, a financial hold will remain on his or her account that prevents the student from registering for classes and securing a transcript. This hold will also prevent graduating seniors from receiving a diploma.
Both regular and deferred payment plans are available to students. Regular plans allow students who do not need to wait for outside funding, such as government aid, to make payments at the beginning of the semester or earlier. Deferred plans push back payment deadlines until the second or third month of the semester, allowing students more time to arrange their finances. Students who signed up before December 2011 could choose from making up to five payments with the first increment due on Dec. 5.
Sophomore Jessica Infante opted for this five-payment schedule after considering all her options before the spring semester.
“It’s the most reasonable one for my situation,” she said. “The online service helps me by giving me a heads up on when to pay and how much I have to pay so there are no surprises.”
Returning students can also begin preparing for the fall by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which has been available since Jan. 15 for the 2012 fiscal year.
Many students receive financial assistance from the government, which determines aid amount largely by the estimated family contributions, or the amount of money their families can contribute, reported by the FAFSA. The University determines a student’s financial needs by subtracting the estimated family contribution from the total tuition.
Students have until March 15 to file their FAFSAs before the priority deadline. The government distributes FAFSA aid on a first-come, first-serve basis, giving priority to students who complete their FAFSAs by the March deadline.
Gabbard said about 90 percent of undergraduate students receive some aid and that the FAFSA helps the financial aid office determine if the University can offer any additional financial assistance to students.
“If you don’t complete your FAFSA, you could potentially miss out on aid,” Gabbard said, adding that the financial aid staff invites students to come to them with any pertinent questions. “When students wait until the last minute, it puts stress on them, their parents and our office because we are working against a deadline.”
Students with questions can visit the cashier’s office in Atwood II, room 113. They can also email the office at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (281) 649-3749.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
CORRECTION: Feb. 13, 2012
Payment plans may be filed in the cashier’s office, not the financial aid office.