New online tuition payment system receives mixed reviews

By Jessica Wildt

E-Bills seem to be the wave of the future as students embark on uncharted territory by receiving bills through e-mail.

The system was designed to create a more convenient way for students to pay their account charges. Students receive E-Bills every month, and the tuition bill will be due Feb. 22.

E-Bills received mixed feelings from students who have used them.

“I was pretty hesitant to try it out at first,” said Juan Navarro, junior in engineering. “I’m a little insecure about doing stuff online.”

Navarro’s initial reaction was similar to many students when they received an e-mail telling them December would be the last month they would receive a paper bill.

Most students have greeted the change positively and Navarro’s worries have subsided.

“I trust it; I think it works,” he said.

Some students greeted E-Bills with more enthusiasm than others, though.

Lindsey Harms and Caitlyn Getty, freshmen in ACES, are still attached to the old method of paper billing.

“It is nicer to get the mailing because then you have it,” Getty said. “It’s there and you don’t have to worry about checking it online.”

Harms, like many students, sends her bill to her parents and felt that E-Bills were not convenient in her situation.

“My parents aren’t computer-savvy, so I have to print it off either way,” she said.

Other students, like Nathan Thompson, junior in LAS, are welcoming E-Bills with open arms.

Thompson, who also forwards his bill to his parents, felt that the new system made it even easier to pass his charges along.

“The e-mail can go straight to my parents and they can just pay the bills with their credit cards and I don’t have to worry about sending any mail to them,” he said.

Thompson was not worried about the level of skill required to view the bills and felt that his parents would not encounter any difficulty using the system.

“The E-Bills seem pretty user-friendly, I think people should be able to handle them even if they’re not familiar with e-mail,” he said.

Joe Creek, director of the University Student Financial Services and Cashier Operations, feels there are many positive aspects of the new E-Billing system.

“We made it much more student-friendly,” he said.

Creek and colleagues from the University of Illinois campuses in Springfield and Chicago decided on the E-Billing method to create a more convenient payment system for students.

“They can find it 24-7, so it’s a nice feature for the students,” he said. “If they need to move it on to mom and dad, they can do that as well.”

Students may authorize their parents to view their bills or even add an additional e-mail address to allow for parents or guardians to receive E-Bill notifications.

Assistant Director of the University Student Financial Services and Cashiers Janet Milbrandt said she had not encountered many students who had trouble with the system.

Freshmen had the most problems because they did not know where they could find the information.

Students who encounter problems can visit the office in 100 Henry Administration Building or call 244-2922.

“We will certainly help them through it,” she said.

E-Bills offer many new benefits including convenient access to account information, yearlong records of student bills and online payment methods that include electronic checks, which are free, and either American Express or Discover credit cards that add a 2 percent convenience fee.

Information about E-Bills is at https://epay.uillinois.edu/ebills.html.