KNOXVILLE – To help meet next year’s $15 million budget cut, the University of Tennessee has revised the way it handles credit card payments for tuition, fees and room and board.
Starting July 1, students, rather than the university, will pay the cost of processing credit card payments so that 100 percent of tuition and fee payments can be applied to academic and student support programs, Provost Loren Crabtree said. This will permit UT to redirect approximately $900,000 to these programs next fiscal year, Crabtree said.
Several other colleges and universities across the nation, including the University of North Carolina, Clemson and Indiana University, already have redirected the credit card fee to students, he said.
“We realize that many students use credit cards for payment of their educational costs,” Crabtree said. “I am happy we have found a way to continue this service.”
“Of course, those who pay by check or cash will avoid the service charge.”
A contract to establish and operate a unique card payment service was awarded to
First Horizon Merchant Services Inc. following the university’s customary bid process. The fee assessed to students using the service is 2.5 percent.
First Horizon Merchant Services is a member of First Tennessee National Corp.
Students who use charge cards will make the payment on-line or by telephone dial-up service. Instructions on how to use the services are available at www.utk.edu/bursar/pymtmethods. Both the on-line and dial-up systems are available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday-Friday, and both accept Discover, MasterCard and Visa.
Crabtree said that to meet the 9 percent reduction in state appropriations the university made cuts that had the least impact on academic programs. The anticipated $900,000 in card fees that would be paid next year clearly meets this criterion, he said.
Credit card procedures will continue unchanged at the present time for the UT Book and Supply Store, ticket office, and other retail outlets on campus.