Tuition bills delivered by the U.S. Post Office and the old saying, “the check is in the mail,” will soon become a part of the past at Virginia Tech.

Beginning this fall, the university will offer a new electronic billing and payment system that will provide students and their families with more options and greater conveniences than the paper-based system. The transition reflects a national trend toward e-billing and electronic payment options at colleges and universities. Virginia Tech will benefit from more efficient, cost effective electronic processes.

“Electronic billing and payment offers several advantages to our students and their families,” says Interim Bursar Evelyn Ratcliffe. “Electronic billing and payment will save time and eliminate waiting in line at the Bursar’s Office. Students can authorize a parent, grandparent or anyone they choose to access their on-line account and make payments. With the on-line payment process, students and parents can select a time that is most convenient for them to pay the amount billed by the statement due date and avoid a late fee on the student’s account.”

Students and parents will have access to a variety of electronic payment options, including payments by electronic check (a direct draft on a checking or savings account) or credit card. No fee will be assessed for the electronic check option. Virginia Tech has contracted with a service provider to allow students and families to pay by credit cards. This vendor will charge a service fee for processing credit card transactions.

“Students and parents are better served when they have a variety of options,” said Ratcliffe. “Payments can still be made by paper check either by mail or in person at the Bursar’s Office, or by the new electronic payment process.”

The Budget Tuition Plan will continue to be offered to students and parents and provides a convenient method of planning and budgeting tuition, fees, room, and board. By authorizing a direct debit to a checking account, institutional charges can be divided into monthly installments instead of paying the full amount due by the statement due date. This process will require completion of a paper application form to be submitted to the Bursar’s Office.

Information on the Budget Tuition Plan can be found on the Office of the University Bursar’s website at www.bursar.vt.edu.

Beginning with the fall semester tuition bill and monthly thereafter, Virginia Tech will notify students by e-mail when a bill has been posted with instructions on how to view it through the university’s student portal, Hokie SPA (Student Personal Access). From Hokie SPA, students can view their bill, make electronic payments and customize their account profile to provide additional e-mail addresses for bill notification or authorize additional payers.

To allow time for students and parents to become accustomed to the new electronic billing method, both paper and e-bills will be provided to students during the fall semester. Beginning Spring Semester 2006, the university will move to e-bills only.

“The electronic bill will contain the same information as the bill sent in the mail,” said Ratcliffe. “The only difference will be how the student receives the bill.”

Virginia Tech’s new e-billing and payment system was developed by infiNet, a leading provider of billing and payment solutions for higher education. Several other institutions including Wake Forest University, the University of Pittsburgh, and Temple University, among others, have successfully adopted electronic billing and payment systems using the Illinois-based company.

“Having a secure and easy to use e-billing and payment service was our highest priority,” said Ratcliffe. “Our new service was designed with the highest security standards and is a very user-friendly process. We are excited to offer students at all campus locations a no-cost electronic payment option,” said Ratcliffe.

Additional information will be forthcoming during the summer and can be found at www.bursar.vt.edu or by calling (540) 231-6277.