Letter to the Editor: USM, end the credit card processing fee


To the Administration of the University of Southern Mississippi,

We all know that college is expensive, that costs are out of control, and student debt is at an all time high as financial aid is drying up, but the administration of the University of Southern Mississippi seems to want to add even more to the financial burden of attending university.  

As a graduate student who is mostly ineligible for student aid other than loans, I rely, as do many others, on my own resources to pay my tuition.  Each semester, I, and many others get a bill, which, I, and I presume many others pay online with a credit card. What is galling to me is that our administration seems to think that adding on a credit card processing fee to my already substantial bill is perfectly fine.  

While I understand that I can pay my bill with a check, and not pay a fee, let’s be realistic.  In today’s modern economy, not only do most people not even have paper checks, many do not have the ability to shell out $3500 in tuition at the drop of a hat.  Students, and everyone in the world simply uses a card-why are we punished-continually- by these credit card fees? Why can’t USM, who I presume processes thousands of dollars in credit card payments per week, be like most other businesses and take the fee on themselves?  Why does our business office think it is perfectly acceptable to tack on a, for me, an eighty five dollar fee to my tuition transactions-putting me, and every other student who pays their bills with a credit card even further in debt?

If USM is going to allow a student to use a card to pay their bills, it is the universities responsibility to handle the credit card fee-not the student.  If this unacceptable then provide a more technology driven low-cost way for us to pay tuition-there are numerous options-paypal, venmo, wire transfers-the list is endless.

USM prides itself on having students who are technologically literate, yet our administration is stuck in the past, driven by money, and giving our credit card fees not to the university but a third party payment processor.  

If you want to charge me a credit card fee and have the money go back into the university-well that is fine with me.   Farming your financial responsibility out to a third party payment processor company that is making thousands of dollars on the backs of hard working students is not!

Do the right thing USM!  End the practice of charging students a fee when they want to pay YOU hard earned money!

Ara Gallo

Graduate Student-School of Library and Information Sciences