Costly convenience for credit cards

After July 1, students who pay their school bill with their credit cards will be subject to convenience fees.

The Office of Student Accounts will now charge a 2.75 percent convenience fee per transaction on credit cards. Debit cards are not subject to any additional charges.

Visa credit cards will no longer be accepted for tuition payments, as the company doesn’t “participate in the fee structure.” Unlike MasterCard, Discover and American Express, Visa would charge a flat rate, rather than a percentage, for its convenience fee.

Gloria Kobus, director of the Office of Student Accounts, said other state universities in Ohio do not accept Visa for this reason.

With tuition expected to increase by 3.5 percent for the next academic year, to roughly $7,700, a 2.75 percent convenience fee would result in an additional $106 per semester.

YSU previously paid these fees, but passing them to the students will save the university more than $300,000 each year.

“As we have moved into an unprecedented financial situation, with the reductions we’re seeing from the state, we’re scrutinizing our expenses as much as possible,” said Ron Cole, director of university communications.

A statement issued by the university stressed that “YSU does not collect or keep any part of the fee.” No other campus vendors will be applying fees, and Visa will continue to be accepted elsewhere.

Kobus said the amount of students paying solely with a credit card makes up a very small percentage of the student population.

Cole said YSU administrators had been examining this possibility for the past couple of years. Upon realizing that other universities were avoiding excessive fees by changing their policies, they felt that now was the appropriate time for YSU to make a change.