Bursar Offers Advice for Students

Enrolling and attending classes can be fun until students are forced to face the harsh reality that a college education is not free. OCCC Bursar, Cynthia Gary, said by following some simple steps, students can simplify their financial situation.

Gary said she emails students with important current information and even upcoming information concerning students’ accounts and payment plans. Everyone should check and read their email, especially the ones from the Bursar’s Office, she said.

Each semester, Gary sees many students who do not drop their classes before the final drop date, which means they are charged for the class even if they did not attend. The drop date for the 16 week semester is Jan. 30 and the last day for the eight week semester is Jan. 23.

“Once the drop dates have come and gone, I really can’t help the student. We do have an appeal process, but if your reason is, ‘I didn’t know,’ it will not be approved, unfortunately…It’s heartbreaking for students to think they know the drop dates and they really don’t and then they wait until that Monday…,” Gary said.

The due date for payment is the first day of classes — Jan. 20, but Gary said they have decided to extend the deadline until Feb. 5 to give students more time.

“…We don’t actually charge you a fee of any sort until Feb. 6. You actually have up to that first payment due date to make a payment. That is a change. We used to add that 2 percent on the 21 [of January,]” she said.

Paying their entire debt at one time can be a bit overwhelming, Gary said, so every student is on a payment plan if they do not pay their balance up front. The four month plan is automatic on the fifth day of each month and requires a payment of 25 percent each month. If a student does not pay on the fifth of each month, a 2 percent calculated finance balance is added to their total.

Bills can be found online on the student portal, which can be accessed through MineOnline. Gary said this is a useful resource that will become increasingly more important, because after March, paper bills will no longer be mailed to individual addresses.

In an effort to save money and time, students will view their bills online and make payments with a credit or debit card. Gary said students can help their parents sign up, as well.

“It’s going to be really important that the student sign their parent up to get the bills via email, or they print them out and take them to their parent. The responsibility is going to be on the student that they make sure whoever is paying for their education receives a bill, or they set them up… with a parent pin,” she said.

For students who do not have access to a computer or printer and cannot view or pay their bills, Gary said they can use the computers on campus.

“The Comm. Lab has agreed they can do that there. They can do it in the Library. If they come here and use our kiosks… we’ll print out the bill for them. We don’t want it to be a hindrance,” she said.

If students are paying with check, Gary said they can skip the line at the Bursar Office and take advantage of the drop box located around the corner by the Communications Lab.

“They just need put their ID on the envelope and stick it in the dropbox. If they’re paying cash, of course, they need to stand in line. We have kiosks here if they have a debit or credit card,” she said.

The Bursar’s Office is also working to integrate E-checks as a future payment option she hopes to include sometime in Feb.

For more information, visit www.occc.edu/bursar/index.html or contact the Bursar’s Office at 405-682-7825.

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