Starting next semester, the due dates for tuition, fees and room and board at the University will be moved up one month in order to align with the start of each academic term.

According to the Office of Financial Aid, the new deadline for the upcoming winter semester is Jan. 3, and the 2008 fall semester deadline will be Aug. 31.

The University Board of Regents endorsed the decision, which will also apply each subsequent semester, to adjust payment dates when it approved the University’s 2007-2008 operating budget in July.

In a letter to students this August, University Provost Teresa Sullivan cited reduced state funding and an increase in University expenditures as the reasons for making payments due sooner.

University spokeswoman Kelly Cunningham said making payment deadlines earlier will increase the University’s efficiency because it aligns the payments with financial aid disbursements, which the University also handles at the beginning of each semester.

Cunningham said making payment deadlines earlier doesn’t necessarily mean students have to pay their whole bill at once.

“With the University payment plan, students can still pay their bills over multiple months throughout the semester,” Cunningham said.

Cunningham said students who drop classes or withdraw after the new deadlines will either be credited on their next student bills or receive refunds from the University, in accordance with the Office of Financial Aid’s refund and repayment policies.

Several other Big Ten universities – including Indiana, Michigan State and Penn State – also have their student payment deadlines at the beginning of each semester.

Michigan Student Assembly President Zack Yost said he had mixed feelings about the University’s decision to move up payment deadlines.

Yost, who said he was speaking for himself and not MSA, said the University deserves credit for its policy of not dropping students who fail to pay their entire bill at once, which frequently occurs at other universities with early payment deadlines.

On the other hand, Yost lamented the University’s failure to consult with MSA and the student body this summer prior to the decision.

“I was very disappointed with the lack of student input,” Yost said. “I don’t think this is a decision in the interest of students.”

Business School junior Jack Dart said the new changes won’t affect him much because his parents handle all of his tuition payments.

“I don’t think it will really affect me at all because my parents make the payments online when they get an eBill,” said Dart, referring to the University’s online billing program.

Dart said he foresees earlier payment deadlines impacting students who have to work to pay their tuitions.

“Students who have jobs won’t have that first month of the fall or winter semester to try to earn money to pay for tuition,” Dart said.

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