50-50 payment plan gone by spring ’08

There will be no breaks next spring when it comes to paying tuition in full.

On Feb. 19, The Missouri Southern Board of Governors voted unanimously to eliminate the 50-50 tuition payment plan as of spring 2008.

The impact from eliminating the plan is predicted to be small. However, in removing this option for students, questions arise for students footing the bill. Dr. Julio León, University president, said he doesn’t think this will hurt anyone.

“There are other possibilities for students,” he said.

Currently, a student is able to pay half their tuition four weeks prior to school, then pay the other half four weeks after school has begun. This year, students participating in the program paid half of their bill Dec. 18 and the balance on Feb. 15. If a student was late in paying the second half, they were withdrawn from classes. The problems became noticeable to the administration over time with increasing cash flow and paperwork hassles.

“We feel that, all in all, it is a problem to the University,” León said.

Rob Yust, University treasurer, said dropping this program wouldn’t be “a big deal.” He said students would be paying the same amount, but a month in advance.

“There is no record of how many students use this program,” Yust said. “A lot of students pay with financial aid, and I don’t think that’s going to change. This a way to push students to file for financial aid earlier.”

The loss of the program will not affect the amount of the tuition, just the timing. However, to some students, timing is significant.

“This is going to make it difficult for students who don’t have scholarships to attend,” said Mark Ostendorf, senior general studies major. “You can’t pay at a lump sum that easily. It’s not so much the tuition, but taking away the 50-50 is more destructive.”

Yust said with the current system, if a student finds out they are unable to make the second payment, their only options are to be dropped from classes, and lose the money they paid on the first half. With the new system this situation is prevented.

“This should help a lot of the students with bad debts,” Yust said.

Some students thought the program to be “a waste” to begin with.

“I tried using the payment plan and it was inconvenient,” said Jamy Spry, senior international studies and French major. “There were late fees and you had to reenroll in it every semester, it just ended up being extra money.

“They do need to have something else available though.”

Students who are receiving financial aid will not be affected by the elimination of this program.