Payment plan hits floor, students under pressure

Amber Englebert - Copy Editor

Amber Englebert – Copy Editor

Amber Englebert

The 50/50 payment plan is dead at Missouri Southern. How foolish.

I suppose the Board of Governors was thinking about those students who never get around to paying the second half of tuition and end up wracking up debt when they struck down the payment plan. But I wonder if the 50/50 payment plan saved more students than it screwed.

Like me, for example. There have been two incidences in my school career here at Southern where the 50/50 payment plan kept me in college.

When I was a freshman, I managed to get run over by a truck while riding my bike to work. My leg was snapped in two, and I had to quit my job. There aren’t many things an employee in retail or the service industry can do with one leg. And since my feet were my mode of transportation at that time, I had no way to get to work anyway.

At the time, my parents and I had a deal: they would pay half my school expenses, and I would pay the other half each semester. First payment for spring semester came, and I was approximately $200 short. Luckily, half of my tuition was taken care of, and I had a month to scrounge around for the rest of the cash. I found a few savings bonds that were kept for me in case of emergency, and I cashed them in. Situation solved, thanks to the 50/50 payment plan.

My other close call was only a year later. As a sophomore, I decided to cast off the mantle of my parents and pay all of my school expenses myself. In other words, I was an idiot. I paid off the first semester with no problems, but when the second semester payments came around I was again approximately $300 short. I worked my butt off for a month, and presented the school with my second payment. Thank you, 50/50 payment plan.

I understand there are other payment plans out there for Southern. I don’t like them.

Mistakes seem to happen frequently Recently, a friend of mine was told his payments didn’t start until February. February rolled around, and he was hit with two payments: one for February and one for January. Also, payments are sometimes set up so that money is owed into the summer. By summertime I want to be thinking about next year’s tuition, not last year’s.

Perhaps it was more of a logistical nightmare in the business office than what I saw. But I know I’ll miss the 50/50 payment plan. Four extra weeks saved my butt twice. I wonder how many students will flounder when it is gone.