ASWSU resolution will create tuition payment plan

Plan could alleviate stress at beginning of semester, would require new payment system



ASWSU veterinary medicine senator Diana Rios is working on a resolution that would create a tuition payment plan.

MOLLY WILK, Evergreen reporter

Two ASWSU senators created a resolution to make a tuition payment plan accessible for all students. 

The resolution serves as a call to action to administration, said Diana Rios, ASWSU veterinary medicine senator. 

Looking through senate binders with previously passed resolutions sparked the idea, she said. The 49th senate passed the resolution two years ago. 

“A tuition payment plan would break up the semester’s cost into monthly payments just so it’s more manageable,” Rios said. “A lot of people who go here are first-generation, a lot of people are low income and a lot of people do have to pick up a job or more than one job to be able to sustain themselves and pay for any expenses that come with college.” 

Many students struggle to balance working on top of school, she said. The payment plan would allow students to have a more manageable work schedule on top of their schooling and ultimately make the beginning of the semester less stressful. 

WSU students come from varying socioeconomic backgrounds, Rios said. The current payment option fails to acknowledge financial hardships and could prevent some prospective students from attending WSU. 

“We don’t know students’ experience and what it takes for them to be able to attend WSU,” she said. “I believe having more payment options allows more people to say, ‘OK, maybe I can go to WSU.’”

After speaking with administrators, Daniela Carvajal Macias, ASWSU all-campus senator,  said she hopes to see the resolution fully implemented by fall 2022. 

This resolution is something that could benefit a lot of students, especially those who do not receive financial aid or scholarships, she said. 

It is overwhelming to pay tuition all at once while also trying to adjust to a new class schedule, she said. 

“I know for myself that this resolution could be very beneficial,” she said. “We’re just super excited to see what’s next for the resolution itself.”

It is overwhelming to pay tuition all at once while also trying to adjust to a new class schedule, ASWSU all-campus senator Daniela Carvajal Macias said.

Matthew Skinner, associate vice president for finance, said the goal of the payment plan is to give students an option when choosing how they wish to pay their balance.

The current payment platform WSU uses does not allow for this option. However, WSU piloted a possible alternative platform several years ago, Skinner said.

Between 70 to 90 students took part in the pilot, and they noted any issues that arose so they could be fixed, he said. 

The new system is called TouchNet and would give students access to the payment plan, he said. 

Skinner said the change would remove the option to pay a balance on MyWSU and designate a TouchNet login specifically for tuition payment. 

Several schools that already use the platform have said TouchNet is straightforward and should not cause confusion for students, he said. 

Based on other schools such as The Pennsylvania State University that have successfully implemented a payment plan, students may need to pay a small administrative fee to take part in the option, Skinner said. 

“I think this would be beneficial because this is something students have asked for,” he said. “So we’re just grateful to finally be in a situation where we can begin addressing a need that students have asked for, and that feels great.” 

Junior nursing major Autumn Udesen submitted a personal story for the resolution to emphasize the need for the payment plan. 

After unknowingly having her private loans divided between semesters, Udesen said she faced late fees because of the unknown balance left in her account. 

Administration was eventually able to fix the problem, but Udesen said a payment plan would have saved her from any late fees and the immense stress. 

“I think [a payment plan] would make the beginning of the semester a lot less stressful,” she said. “You’re already in new classes and then you have to worry about paying all these fees. Especially for people who get help from lots of outside sources, it would make the whole process a lot easier.”