Over half of students at the University of Manitoba now use online banking to pay their tuition.
Sam Vagianos, assistant manager of the revenue, general and student accounting department of the University of Manitoba, said that electronic banking, which was implemented in 2000, has accounted for approximately 52 per cent of tuition payments over the last two years.
“Electronic banking is our preferred method of payment. It’s an efficient process for both the student and the university,” said Vagianos.
“Students can make payments by the click of a button while the university receives payments in an electronic file from the bank that can then be loaded electronically into the Aurora system. This process also helps ensure data is accurate and complete as there is less manual processing.”
According to the U of M website, students whose fees are paid online during the fall and winter terms are eligible to win one of three prizes as part of the electronic banking contest.
By contrast, at the University of Saskatchewan, only 13 per cent of tuition payments are made through online banking for the 2008-09 academic year.
Marion Van Impe, director of student accounts at the University of Saskatchewan, said that online banking is encouraged at the U of S through online promotion and contests similar to those at the U of M.
Impe explained that online banking transactions are more convenient for both the student and university.
“It is easier for both the student and the university. It’s easier for the student because they don’t have to come and pay in person. Online banking services are typically available 24/7,” said Impe.
“It’s also easier for the university because we don’t have to handle cash or cheque. At the U of S, as with most universities, we’ve created an upload feature so that when we download the information from our bank provider, we upload it on to the student’s account. [This means] it’s applied to the student account very quickly.”
Impe noted that it probably cost the university less as well, considering the paid staff time involved in accepting in-person payments that wouldn’t be required with online banking.
Some students at the U of M say that convenience is a deciding factor in choosing online banking.
“It’s a lot more convenient. You don’t have to stand in line. You don’t have to use a cheque,” said Eric Nickel, a faculty of engineering student.
“I had it set up from a couple years ago, so once you set it up it’s just like paying any other bill. It takes 10 seconds.”
Another said she had thought about using online banking, but was worried about security issues.
“That’s the main thing I think for me,” said Alpha Taryana, a student in extended education.
The fee payment deadline for the winter 2010 term was Jan. 7. Students with outstanding balances at the end of the revision period, Jan. 19, may be subjected to a $40 deregistration fee.
Overdue accounts will be placed on hold, students will be deregistered from any future term courses and students will be held responsible for the winter term balance.
According to the U of M website, students on hold will be denied access to most administrative and academic services, including access to transcripts and libraries.