[admin] As of July 26, 2004, MSU finally decided to move out of the Dark Ages and into the 21st century and change their means of tuition payment to the “hassle-free” system of electronic billing. This means that paper bills will no longer be mailed to parents through the U.S. Postal Service.
The electronic billing and payment service allows a student to view billing and payment history online and to pay using an electronic check or credit card with a small minimum fee. The bill can also be printed off and sent with payment to MSU via U.S. mail. Students can authorize guests, usually parents or guardians, to receive an e-mail when a bill is ready to view on the website.
One of the reasons why MSU decided to require electronic billing is because many other services, applications and processes at the university are already using this “paperless” form of payment. Some of these processes include grade reporting, applying for admission, applying and accepting financial aid and processing student refunds through direct deposit.
“MSU mainly decided to convert to the new online billing for budget and economic reasons to save the university money and eliminate mailing costs to the students,” said Associate Controller of Student Services Susan Wallersborf.
“This is a very convenient and helpful way for both students and parents to view the bill online, since there is the option for guest authorization,” said Wallersborf.
[face] Despite some obvious advantages to the new system, there are mixed reviews amongst the students of MSU. Some believe the university took too long in its switch to electronic billing, while others do not feel that online billing should be the only way to make a payment. Many students see the “mail-in” way of sending in a bill as the easier method for their parents.
“Students and parents should have the option of both, whichever they prefer, because this university is a business. They are customers, and should have the ability to pay whichever way they like,” said senior Andy Hickner, a political theory senior.
Jennifer Spurr, an education senior, also has doubts about electronic billing. “I understand the cost advantages, but those advantages are only as good as the people using the system,” Spurr said. “Many people do feel comfortable e-billing, while others do not- especially parents.”
Wallersborf does admit that when this new system went into effect, there were glitches, but only minor ones. When problems did arise, MSU staff fixed them and answered phone calls from both concerned parents and students, Wallersborf said.
New technology can take time to be perfected and also take awhile for its users to become familiarized with the different system. Hopefully, the electronic world will prove to be an easier way for students and parents to pay and view their bills.

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