Keene State College is waving goodbye to paper billing statements, and waving hello to the online tool QuikPay for college payments. QuikPay allows students to pay their bills online, erasing the need to mail a check to the school and wait for the balance to change.
According to the Director of the Student Accounts Office, Fanny Kelley, the school has been using QuikPAY as a payment portal since 2006. “Each year we’ve tried to increase the number of usership, if you will, because that’s kind of the way the industry and society are going,” Kelley said. “We are not necessarily telling people they have to make their payments online, but that is how we have chosen as an institution to deliver our billing statements.”
Kelley said the Student Accounts Office does allow students to come to the office on campus, and pay at the window.
As far as credit cards go, Kelley said Student Accounts does offer credit card payment, online only. “We don’t accept credit cards on campus for tuition fees, room, and board. We do accept credit cards through QuikPAY, but the down side to that is the fee if they pay with a credit card online, of 2.75 percent, and Visa is not accepted,” Kelley said. The reason behind this is that Visa does not allow the convenience fee, so the school cannot use it.
Another option for students who are looking for a way to pay online without a fee, they can use an E-check from a checking or saving account while using QuikPAY.
Kelley stressed that the office is not trying to force students to pay online. “While it may seem like we’re saying you must pay online, we’re not necessarily saying you must pay online, but that this is the way we are going to deliver your bill.”
If a student chooses to go in and look at the bill, print it out, and send the school a check, that’s perfectly fine, Kelley said. They are not going to stop that practice.
She also said that Student Accounts may not put QuikPAY out there as a big effort to go green, but it is on their minds as they work to help change online bill paying. “To print billing statements, and in that amount, there is cost involved. So it’s a cost-saving measure, but it’s also going green,” she said.
This November, KSC will be moving to paperless billing for the Spring 2012 semester, Kelley said. This means it will be the first semester that students will not receive a paper bill in the mail, only one online. Students will receive timely receipts whenever they make a payment online.
The billing change does not mean you have to pay online though. The option to go to the office or mail a check is still acceptable.
According to Kelley, students haven’t been calling the office because of confusion relating to QuikPAY, but more along the lines of how to set up an authorized user account (which the office is advising students using QuikPAY to do). To help, Kelley said they sent information home with the billing statements about QuikPAY so that the parents can be informed as well.
When a student sets up an account with QuikPAY, they are the ones notified about upcoming bills. If a student’s parent or guardian help pay the bills, then the student must remember to tell her or his parent or guardian that a new bill is up.
The authorized user account allows a parent or guardian to have online access to their student’s billing information, and pay bills online.
KSC senior Victoria Jennings said she thinks QuikPAY is hard to understand. “I have a hard time understanding what each thing on the website means, and it’s caused me a lot of problems,” she said. “I find it frustrating to use, but if they made it more comprehensive and easier to use, I would be more apt to use it.”
Freshman Ian O’Brien said he thinks QuikPAY is slow. “It updates slowly, so over the summer it was hard to know what I still needed to pay and what financial aid I had.”
Junior Cassie Orr said she still uses QuikPAY, but has had difficulty with it in the past. “I understand how it could be useful, but I always have technical problems with it. Quikpay makes paying my bill complicated for both my parents and myself.”
For struggling students, Kelley said that the QuikPAY account doesn’t follow “real time,” and also must be downloaded and processed at the school in the office once the student submits a payment. The student however, will receive an instant receipt via e-mail to confirm the payment that was just made.
As QuikPAY changes over the years, Kelley said the office still wants to help students understand and get the information out there about online paying. Helping students understand what it means exactly, and communicating as best as possible with students so there is less confusion in what they’re trying to do, Kelley said.
Lindsey Arceci can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org