Paying tuition fees in installments is one sure way of handling the hefty bills that comes with tuition. Oftentimes, they help reduce or even eliminate the need to take on debt.
Therefore, it is very vital that you check whether the University which you are interested in has options for paying tuition fees in installments.
Paying tuition fees in installments will help you avoid taking out a loan. So, how does the tuition payment plans work?
An instalment plan makes it easier by spreading the payment over a period of time. For instance, if $5000 is the tuition, it can be spread over a period of time, say 10 months with a $500 monthly payment.
The payment plans vary from college to college. Here are some things to take note of about paying tuition fees in installments.
What is a college Tuition payment plan?
College tuition payment plans help families pay tuition bills over a period of time instead of all at once.
Most times, these payments are monthly and must have to be completed before the end of the associated academic term.
Paying tuition fees in installments;how does it work?
So many schools have set a policy for the time when tution and fees are due. But, oftentimes students find it hard to make the payment all at once in a lump sum. Such students get to see the need for paying tuition fees in installments.
The payments can be spread over the course of a semester, quarter or academic year in monthly installments.
Some schools have more than one installment plan
Some schools offer more than one installment plan. For instance, New York University offers more than one interest-free installment plan.
The first is the deferred plan with three sets of payments during a semester and Secondly the Tuition Pay Plan, which is administered through a third party.
How do I enroll for the Tuition instalment Plan?
There are basically two options for paying your fees in installments. Here are the steps:
Option 1: Students first log into the website of the schools they have chosen and search for the payment plan option in the section of the websites that talks about tuition and other bills.
There might be a series of questions displayed to which such student has to provide answers. You most likely will be asked who the authorized payer will be, of which most times it is usually the student of his or her parents.
To finish the process, a third party installment plan provider will be involved as they will help you finish the process. Examples of Third-party installment plan providers include Nelnet or Heartland ECSI.
Option 2: The second is going directly to the tuition installment plan provider and selecting your school from the list. Oftentimes it’s better to contact your school’s financial aid or bursar’s service to find out who the instalment provider is.
Also, you will typically have to pay an enrollment fee or application fee. There are universities with free online applications and also universities with very low enrollment fees.
The City University of New York has an enrollment fee of $25 per semester while George Washinton University has an enrolment fee of $45 per semester.
You are advised to enroll early because enrolling later than the payment plan enrolment dates may mean higher enrollment fee.
Paying tuition fees in installments: How to make payments
There are different ways of making payments. Payments can be made through your schools’ payment portal or directly through the third-party provider’s website.
Also, you can pay by electronic check, credit card or Automated clearing house(ACH) recurring payments that are set up in advance.
You must have in mind that Credit card payments may incur high fees. However, there is no charge for paying by eCheck from a checking account.
As an international student who does not have a United States bank account, you can pay through wire service or check the website of your school for other acceptable payment methods.
Review your requirements
Some tuition instalment plans can have unique requirements. Some colleges require their students to take certain number of classes, meet certain income requirements and most importantly have the right repayment option available, like the direct debit.
Before signing up, ensure you review the information, to make sure you are eligible.
Paying tuition fees in installments; what does it cover?
Payment plans are generally for tuition and fees, however, colleges are left to decide what the payment plans cover.
Meal plans, as well as Room and Board, may have their own payment plans. This is because each aspect of college has its own payment schedule.
Cases of change in your Finance
Sometimes students sign up for payment plans and because of one or two reasons cannot meet up with one or more payments.
If there are cases of financial snags due to unprecedented circumstances, it is best for such students to contact the school.
Such unexpected circumstances include; job loss and medical emergency. In cases like that, students contact the financial aid office and submit a special circumstance form to check the availability of more financial aid.
5 Steps of paying tuition fees in installments
- Choose a participating college
- Review their tuition payment program
- Review their requirements
- Sign up for a tuition payment plan
- Pay the monthly installments
Choose a participating college
The first step of course is o find a participating college. This is because not all schools offer tuition payment plans.
Review their tuition payment program
The second step is to review your tuition payment plan program to ensure it meets your needs. This is because different colleges partner with sometime just one third-party provider companies. Ensure that your the approach you plan to take in financing college will work with the third-party companies. Some widely used third party companies include:
Review their requirements
The third step is to review the requirements and go through the information properly to ensure they are eligible. Some colleges will need participating students to meet certain income requirements.
Sign up for a tuition payment plan
The fourth step is to sign up for the tuition payment plan you have chosen.
A financial aid officer can provide your student with instructions to make sure they complete the process correctly.
Pay the monthly installments
The final step is to pay the monthly installments. Ensure that the monthly payments are sent on time . If they use direct debit, all that they’ll usually need to do is ensure that they have enough in their bank account to cover the payment.
If they are using an alternative approach – like paying by check – they’ll need to send out the payment to ensure it arrives at the right place by the due date.
Advantages of payment plans in paying tuition fees in installments
You can be able to make monthly payments instead of having to pay for full tuition or other fees in a lump sum.
You will be saved from carrying debts potentially for years.
The fee charged is often much lower than student loan interest and origination fees on student loans. Origination fees have to be paid even if you pay back the loan the next day.
There generally isn’t a credit check, unlike with private student loans.
You can set up a payment plan once through ACH and know you’re all set for paying off tuition.
Disadvantages of paying tuition fees in Intallments
At a pricey college, tuition may be too expensive to pay off by the end of each academic year.
You may be able to have a portion of your federal student loans forgiven after as little as 20 years under income-driven repayment plans.
Colleges are likely to charge service fees if families pay by credit card, even if it’s a debit card.
If paying by credit card and you don’t pay the balance off in full, the interest you pay over time could cost more than student loan interest would.
Parents paying for tuition and fees are taking on the burden and of course, may deplete money they could have used for their own retirement savings or even student loan payments.
If the student’s or family’s financial situation changes, the monthly bill can become untenable.
Some universities/colleges with payment plans
If you are searching for universities where you can be paying tuition fees in installments, then here are some universities to consider.
- University of Bradford
- Westcliff University
- University of Derby
- Regent’s University London
- Tyndale University
- Maryville College
The tuition installment plans are the best option for families who do not have all the money to pay for tuition all at once but however, can afford tuition in monthly payments.
Before choosing that college tuition installment plan over student loans, ensure that you consider the overall financial picture as well as the savings and retirement plans of your parents.
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