Financial Clearance Process Changes

Starting in the summer semester, the Student Accounts office will implement new policies regarding the financial clearance deadlines and other office procedures.

Financial clearance, according to Student Accounts, is a status that indicates a student has completed payment arrangements through an ‘approved payment option’ to cover all tuition and fee charges for the semester. A signed Tuition and Fee Agreement must also be on file.

Director of Student Accounts, Heidi Pendleton, said the changes were pushed in an effort to be more efficient and to “simplify the process for both students and staff.”

There are three main changes that consist of detailed account information, a new payment gateway and one financial clearance deadline per semester for all students.

Previously, the Course and Fee statement was used by students to see their balance. However, this was only an estimation of tuition and fees charged to a student’s account.

Students can now access their actual student account by clicking on “My Account Information” found under the Student Accounts tab under InsideCBU.

Under this new feature, students can tell what their balance is, the actual amount along with all fees charged and aid added.

“Students can see when their loans and scholarships were credited into their account,” Pendleton said.

Along with the aid, students can see when charges were placed by the dates posted for each transaction. Some amounts will be in parentheses, indicating the amount was subtracted.

“Everything is right there at their fingertips,” Peggy Plavajka, student accounts counselor, said.

Student information can also be retrieved through “Account Transaction History” in the CASHNet payment gateway.

This new payment program does not require additional fees.

Pendleton said that this new gateway is “not as cumbersome.”

A students ID number will be validated automatically. Students can also create profiles for authorized parties, such as parents or grandparents, to view their account transaction history and to make payments to their student accounts.

“There are fewer steps,” Pendleton said. “We have made it simpler. And there are no fees. ”

Pendleton said the University would incur and pay those origination fees.

The third major change is the one deadline for all students. Before, students’ clearance deadline could differ depending on program, admit status or time of registration.

A letter that was recently mailed out to enrolled students said that “one deadline for all students is fair, reduces confusion and simplifies the financial clearance process.”

The deadlines are expected to be May 3 for the summer 2011 semester, Aug. 16 for fall 2011 and Jan. 5, 2012 for spring 2012.

In order to be financially cleared, students must have set up an approved payment option which can be one or a combination of a student account payment, an automatic monthly payment plan and financial aid.

The letter also said that “beginning with the summer 2011 semester the university will allow students themselves to determine if they should remain enrolled or withdraw from the University due to financial constraints.”

Students who cannot make arrangements with an approved payment option will no longer need to fill out a semester payment agreement.

“Students will be financially responsible and understand what that involves. This change allows them to make the decision to withdraw or remain enrolled based on their personal financial circumstances,” Pendleton said.

But since much of the previously filled time was used to answer balance inquiries, the Student Accounts staff wants to help families who are finding it difficult to make approved arrangements.

“We hope to have more time to work with those families,” Pendleton said. “We don’t want to lose our personal touch.”