Glitch causes retroactive fees for students

The University’s transition to the PeopleSoft 8.9 billing system last fall has caused some unforeseen inconveniences for students enrolled in summer courses. Students who enrolled in summer classes could be facing unexpected fees on their account, but fortunately this will not mean direct expulsion from classes for nonpayment.

"I had to wait for a week. It was kind of hectic because I didn’t know what was wrong," said first year MBA Aimee Guillerety, who incurred $758 in additional fees this summer. "Right toward the end of (Six Weeks 1) I saw all of these charges with additional class fees. They couldn’t even tell me what my summer charges were."

A significant number of fees that should have been billed for certain classes and colleges were not reported to student accounts. As a result, fees were posted on short notice, causing several complications on payments. All fees in question were course fees, tuition charges or other mandatory fees, such as Campus Recreation and Wellness Center fees. The fees were specifically for those courses, scheduled in Six Weeks 1, Six Weeks 2 and the nine-week summer session. No courses in the regular 12-week session were affected.

"I have not noticed any problems with my fee bill," civil engineering junior Fernando Alquicira said. "It’s hard to notice fees that weren’t there."

Of the 8,581 students enrolled during the affected sessions, only 255 students were dropped from Six Weeks 2. Not all students were necessarily disenrolled because of the technical error.

"Originally, the problem was detected by the various colleges. They were examining their revenue accounts and discovered their revenue was not what they had anticipated," Director of Student Financial Services Gene Gillis said. "They inquired about this discrepancy, and when it was researched, the discovery was made that students enrolled in courses for sessions Six Weeks 1, Six Weeks 2 and nine week were not being billed for their respective course fees as had been advertised."

The process of setting up fees in PeopleSoft is different than the previous student system. In the former system, when fees were originally entered into the student billing system, fees appeared throughout all semesters and sessions during the coming fiscal year. This does not happen in the same manner with the new system.

"We were in a new system, which required a much different setup from the one we had used for the past 18 years," Gillis said. "Because many people and several departments put fees into the system, no one person, or department involved, knew of this difference and therefore we only learned of it after the fact. Remember, this is our first time to experience a summer semester in a brand new system."

The corrections to the student system were made during the week of June 20-27. On June 27, student accounts were recalculated, and at this time students could see the new charges on their accounts.

The Student Financial Services Center has extended the due date for payment of these fees to Aug. 19. Those who cannot pay by the new date can call the Enrollment Services Call Center for assistance.

"I didn’t know it went up until after I paid," said biology senior Sindya Markose, whose charges went up to $1,800 from $1,600. "They should tell people about these things in advance."

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