The Price of Late Fees
Published: Friday, April 20, 2012
Updated: Thursday, April 19, 2012 18:04
Preregistration can be a stressful process. And it’s even worse when you encounter an unexpected error message because your student account has been blocked.
The Office of Student Accounts is responsible for charging all tuition and housing fees, as well as overdue library fines and other small service charges on a student’s account. If a student has unpaid fees of more than $100, he or she is then blocked from using MyAccess. Given the fact that students must use checking accounts to make such payments, it is unreasonable to block them from preregistering for fines less than two weeks old.
During the academic year, the Office of Student Accounts doesn’t accept credit card payment; students can only pay with a checking account. Late fees for media rental from Gelardin or utility charges for those living in townhouses can add up quickly. Many students do not have immediate access to checking accounts with enough cash to pay off these fees and are thus restricted from signing up for their courses or requesting official transcripts in time to meet job application deadlines.
It is fair for the university to ask students to pay their bills before they can use MyAccess to preregister or request transcripts for internships. Otherwise, fees might go unpaid for months. But punishing students by blocking them from preregistering for recent fees is unreasonable.
Students should not be locked out of MyAccess for fees incurred within two weeks of pre-registration. Alternatively, the Office of Student Accounts should allow students to pay off these fees using major credit cards so that they can do so in time to meet deadlines.
As students, many of us are still learning to cope with real-world situations and responsibilities — like paying bills. Blocking us from classes during preregistration isn’t going to teach us anything.