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 Tuesday, May 24, 2005 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter

IN THE SPOTLIGHT


Bursar's Office Boot Camp
By Allison Sylvest

Summer is a busy time for the Bursar's Office. They're sending out bills nearly every week for the wide range of summer class offerings, an update to the student information system is in the planning stages–and then there's Boot Camp.

"We're gearing up for our first semester employing the College Opportunity Fund (COF) vouchers," said Director Jean Thomson. "This July the Bursar's Office is teaming with the offices of Financial Aid and the Registrar to coordinate informational sessions for our frontline staff–sort of a mini Boot Camp–to prepare for the questions that will come."

According to Thomson, COF replaces what used to be a state funding system invisible to students. Now students must request state funding toward their tuition costs. Last November, the Bursar's Office began an informational campaign to educate students on how to authorize funding. About 75 percent of continuing students have gone through this process, but the remaining 25 percent includes many new students.

"The new students are a little nervous anyway and this year we have COF as well so we want to be well prepared," said Thomson. "To help students through the initial process, we have extra assistants to keep our lines short, give out candy and keep a sense of humor. Though they can estimate their tuition costs and pay online, most new students come into the office at the beginning of fall semester."

The Bursar's Office Web site offers parents online payment and the student portal gives students easy access to multiple Bursar's Office functions. "We enjoy being part of the portal," said Thomson. "It offers much more flexibility. For instance, payments can be made in real time, so if students find themselves on hold for registration, they can clear it up right away."

Thomson encourages faculty and staff to contact the Bursar's Office for information on COF, the faculty/staff tuition benefit or other billing questions. The one thing they aren't responsible for? Tuition rates. "We sometimes have people ask why we've raised tuition and I have to explain that's not in our jurisdiction," Thomson said.

For more information visit the Bursar's Office Web site.


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