UI finds way to expedite refund

By Se Young Lee

The University will begin to distribute tuition refunds by direct deposit for the upcoming calendar year so students will receive their refund money faster.

Tuition refunds are issued when the University overcharges a student due to a miscalculation, or if the student is awarded more financial aid than anticipated.

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Joe Creek, associate director of student accounts and cashiering, said the previous procedure required for checks to be sent out to the students individually.

But Kathe Shinham, University’s assistant vice president for the Department of Business and Finance, said the checks often did not reach the students because the address on the students’ records did not correspond with their actual address.

“Many refund checks were returned,” Shinham said.

Creek said sometimes the checks would get lost in the mail, which, in addition to the returned checks, created substantial delays.

“It took a while to trace everything back and reissue the checks,” Creek said.

Creek said starting in January of 2005, the former check system will be abandoned in favor of the direct deposit procedure. Refunds can be sent to the bank account designated by the students.

Laura Tennison, senior in business, said the process will be beneficial to students.

“I think it provides convenience for students in the sense that the funds go directly into their accounts instead of having to wait for a check in their mail,” Tennison said.

Creek said students who do not find direct deposit convenient will be able to request for a “pay card,” which will function like a debit card. Whatever amount of money the student is owed will be charged to the pay card, which can then be used for monetary transactions. But Creek said the students will most likely be charged a convenience fee, similar to the fees charged when withdrawing money from an ATM.

Creek said the change in procedure will cut costs for the University, but emphasized that the primary purpose of the switch is to adequately serve the students.

“We just want to get the refunds into the hands of the students as soon as possible, and this is an opportunity to do that,” he said.