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Higher Ed in the News

Paying tuition with a credit card gets more expensive

July 7, 2009

A growing number of universities are adding processing fees for students who pay tuition using plastic.

Students at the University of Southern Maine who pay tuition using plastic will face a 2.75% processing fee. Other schools that have adopted, or are adopting, similar policies include:

  • George Mason University
  • Northwestern University
  • Wichita State
  • University of Virginia

When students use a credit card, institutions have to pay an average of 2% to process the transaction, according to Nilson Report, a payment systems newsletter.

Traditionally, colleges have borne these costs themselves. But they're increasingly rethinking these policies — and passing costs along to students — amid the difficult economy.

In 2007, 26% of colleges charged a credit card payment fee, either directly or through a third party, up from 14% in 2003, according to surveys conducted by the National Association of College and University Business Officers.

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