A new policy that would charge a $10 convenience fee each time students make a tuition or fee payment with a credit or debit card through OASIS was recommended by a subcommittee of USF’s governing board Thursday.
Under the terms of the policy, students with a checking account can avoid the fee by paying debts on their OASIS student accounts with electronic checks.
The fees would generate approximately $1 million a year, and if approved by the Board of Trustees at their December meeting, would take effect in the spring semester.
The $1 million would go toward covering the fees credit card companies charge the University each time students use plastic pay their tuition and fees, said University Controller Nick Trivunovich, who pitched the policy to the Finance and Workgroup of the BOT on Thursday.
“We’re not trying to make money off of this,” Trivunovich said after the workgroup meeting. “We’re just trying to break even.”
USF has covered the expense of the credit and debit payments in the past, but its ability to continue was another casualty of the University’s general belt-tightening in the wake of budget cuts, Trivunovich said.
“It was something we were considering, but it was definitely hastened by the cuts,” Trivunovich said. “That money should go where it’s really needed now.”
The policy would also mean students could no longer use credit or debit cards at the cashier’s office to pay tuition and fees on their student accounts, Trivunovich said. All of those payments would be funneled through OASIS.
The University of Central Florida has a nearly identical policy, charging students $10 fee for debit and credit payments online. At University of Florida, the transactions come with a $24 fee, though students are allowed to pay with debit cards at the cashier’s office. Other major public colleges in Florida have policies similar to those at UF and UCF.
“We understand where it’s coming from and why it’s been implemented,” said student body vice president Faran Abbasi. “But it’s still a disappointment every time students incur another fee. If anything, this should cause students to rally together behind better funding policies coming from (the Legislature).”
The workgroup also recommended a $5 jump in the cost of replacement student ID cards, from $10 to $15.
David Guidi can be reached at (813) 974-1888 or firstname.lastname@example.org.