Pay up: University of Akron asking for fall tuition earlier than in recent years

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AKRON, Ohio-- The University of Akron's Fall Semester begins on August 31.

Even while making very public cuts in an attempt to eliminate a $60-million deficit, the anticipation is that enrollment will be up significantly from just two years ago.

But those students who are taking classes this fall will have to make their tuition payment several weeks earlier than in the past.

While the University had previously set the day classes start as the deadline for paying tuition, students who registered before August 1 for classes this fall will have to pay their tuition by August 10, or face a late fee that has been doubled.

University of Akron Chief Communications and Marketing Officer Wayne Hill said waiting until the day class starts is the exception rather than the rule among Ohio colleges and universities and the earlier date helps with planning and preparation for the new semester.

"The practice in the past had been for the day of classes starting is when the tuition fees were due. We found that that was causing some difficulties because, as an example, if we didn't know that a student was really coming, even though they said they were, things like housing or meal plan purchases or attendance in class, those kinds of information would not be known as to whether or not the student was actually attending or not " said Hill.

The University issued a statement on Wednesday explaining that students who registered after August 1 would still have until the day class starts to pay their tuition.

In the statement, the University also explained that students who registered for the fall semester before August 1 and do not pay their tuition by August 17 will be un-registered from class.

The university also explained that students whose tuition bill is at least 25% covered by financial aid, or if a partial payment has been made, they are not affected by the August 10 deadline.

The University has been reminding students and their families of the approaching deadline in phone calls and emails.

Hill said the date, however, has been in the students' contracts since fall enrollment began in March.

Those who do not pay on time will face a late payment fee that the University of Akron Board of Trustees voted to increase from $50 to $100 at their June 10 meeting.

Hill said the increased late fee is also in line with what other universities around the state are charging.

"It went from $50 to $100 on a tuition bill that is in the $4,000 range or something like that depending on what your particular situation is and it's actually one of the lowest late charges in the state from other universities," said Hill.

Examining the published late fees of other Ohio universities, Fox 8 found that Ohio State University charges a $200 late fee which increases another $100 if it is not paid by a second deadline.

Kent State has a $30 late fee for tuition but it also increases by $100 if a second deadline is not met.

Some students did not realize the earlier date was in their contract.

"I'm paying out of pocket for well, for my fees and stuff; so now I have to come up with that like three weeks earlier than I would have to so that's kind of hard on me," said Courtney White.

"I'm just going to have to figure out how to pay it ahead of time because I have always been able to get the money just for the first day but I'm sure I'll be able to figure it out," said Dan Deafenbaugh.

In recent weeks the University has also backed down from a fee increase for junior and senior level courses that many saw as nothing more than a tuition increase.

"I wouldn't say it's malicious because I do think we are all adults and we do need to be responsible for ourselves. I think we need to be responsible for making sure what we need to get done, we need to get done on time," said Ailey Diedrich.

"It stinks, but if it's true about what they say that they are 60-million in the hole, they had to do something," said Deafenbaugh.

*More on the University of Akron here*