The Billing and Refund Information has several purposes: 1) to acquaint you with Bluffton University billing periods and financial policies; 2) to help you calculate what your costs will be; 3) to help you determine a suitable payment plan. Please read this material carefully.
THE BLUFFTON YEAR
Bluffton's academic year has two semesters--fall and spring. The cost for each semester will be approximately the same for full-time students. Each semester will be billed separately.
Bluffton offers two payment plans described later in this information. You must select one of these plans by indicating your choice on FORM A. Send the completed form to the Business Office. If you choose the monthly plan you should make your first two payments by July 7. Subsequent payments will be due on the first of the month. The monthly payment plan option is not available after Aug. 15, 2014.
Students receiving Federal Perkins Loans must personally sign for this aid in the Business Office after classes begin. Federal regulations prohibit disbursing this aid to the student's tuition account until the signature is on file.
The Business Office issues bills prior to each upcoming semester. Payments in advance are appreciated. When submitting payment, be sure to identify the student for whom payment is made and indicate that the payment is for the student's tuition account.
Payment toward your student's account may be paid with check or cash. Payments can also be automatically deducted from your checking or savings account by authorizing an ACH (Automated Clearing House) charge from your account. Please contact the cashier of the Business Office by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org with your request for an "ACH Authorization" form. Credit card payments are not accepted for payment of tuition and fees on student accounts.
The Business Office sends each student a monthly statement of unpaid bills. In order for statements to be sent to parents or to another address, the waiver with signature must be completed (see FORM A). The Federal Privacy Act of 1974 prohibits the release of information on a student's account to anyone other than that student without written permission. This authorization form (FERPA) is available on our website .
Bluffton expects all students to have health insurance. Students are enrolled in Bluffton's Group Health Insurance plan unless a waiver is completed indicating coverage is not necessary. The cost is $1,500 for the year. All full-time students are billed for this coverage; the charge is removed from the student's bill if a waiver is completed by Sept. 12. A new waiver card must be filed each year. A student may not join the plan during the year if the plan had been waived initially. The on-line waiver is located at www.studentplanscenter.com.
Bluffton does not carry insurance on students' belongings. Most homeowners' and renters' policies cover these items. Consult with your insurance agent and/or read your policy to determine whether these items are covered through that policy or whether you need additional insurance for your personal items.
PARKING AND TRAFFIC REGULATIONS
Students bringing vehicles on the campus must register them either during summer orientation/registration sessions or, at the business office within three days of bringing the vehicle to campus. There is a $25 per semester fee for parking permits. Fines are assessed for not obeying traffic regulations. (See student handbook.) Unpaid/outstanding fines will be added to the student's tuition account.
Questions about billing and payment plans should be directed to the business office (419-358-3312). Questions about financial aid should be directed to the financial aid office (419-358-3266).
PAYMENT PLAN DESCRIPTIONS
The following payment plans are acceptable:
A. Payment-in-Full Plan. Each semester's bill is due before the first day of classes of that semester. The bill is calculated on the actual costs for that semester.
B. Ten-Month Plan. The student's estimated yearly costs (assumes 12-17 academic hours per semester) are divided into ten equal installments. Payments begin in July and continue through April. Your first payment is due by July 7 with subsequent payments due on the first of each month. There is no finance charge if the plan is up to date. Because actual costs may exceed estimated costs (i.e., a student registers for more than 17 hours in either semester) a larger payment in April may be necessary. This payment plan option is not available after Aug 15, 2014.
While Bluffton prefers that families subscribe to one of the two payment plans listed above, we recognize that some family income patterns may warrant an alternate arrangement. We can usually accommodate such arrangements if first approved by the business manager. Please call the business office if you wish to discuss another option.
UNPAID ACCOUNT POLICIES
Bluffton expects that all students will follow one of the payment plans described above. We treat unpaid accounts as follows:
A. Bluffton will add interest at the rate of one percent per month to accounts not current on an approved payment plan. That represents an annual interest charge of twelve percent. The interest is charged on the entire unpaid balance or, for students on payment plans, the larger of the delinquent amount or the unpaid balance.
B. Students with unpaid accounts are not allowed to enroll in a subsequent semester. All accounts past due must be paid in full before a student enrolls in summer school or in any other registration period.
C. Bluffton will not issue transcripts, diplomas, teaching certificates, or records of any kind for students having past-due accounts. Additionally, student paychecks from campus jobs will be held for students with past-due accounts.
Basic Fees: Yearly Semester Billing Billing
Tuition (12 to 17 hours per semester): $ 28,866 ($14,433 per semester)
Technology Fee: $450 ($225 per semester)
Room*: $4,732 ($2,366 per semester)
Board (15 meal plan**): $4,900 ($2,450 per semester)
Health Insurance: $1,500
Room Damage Deposit (New students only): $100
Total: $40,548 ($19,474 per semester)
· Charge per semester hour if less than 12 hours: $1,203 per semester hour
· Charge per semester hour over 17 up to and including 20 hours: $ 849 per semester hour
· Charge per semester hour over 20 hours: $1,203 per semester hour
**Meal Plan Programs
20 Meal Plan per semester: $2,550
10 Meal Plan per semester: $2,350
Commuter 5 Meal Plan per semester: $926
Additional Special Fees:
*Rooming in Neufeld, Ramseyer, and Riley Court: $100
Super Single per semester: $1,183
(Neufeld, Ramseyer and Riley Court): $1,233)
Clinical Practice: $500
Private Music Lessons per credit hour: $175 in addition to tuition
Accompaniment Fee per credit hour: $112.50 in addition to tuition and Private Lessons Fee
Audit, per course***: $90
Becoming A Scholar Fee: $115
Vehicle Registration/per semester: $25
Returned Payment Fee (Non-sufficient Funds): $15
***There may be additional fees for auditors in courses using special supplies or equipment.
CASH CREDIT BALANCES; TITLE IV FUNDS AVAILABILITY AND USE
The following statements are provided as required by federal regulations.
Payments and disbursements of financial aid sometimes create credit balances on student accounts. Federal regulations stipulate that a credit balance can only be kept on the account for future charges upon written authorization from the student or the student's parent. Bluffton University does not pay interest to students/parents on student accounts that have credit balances.
In addition, if a student/parent wishes to use Title IV funds (Federal Pell/SEOG/Perkins/Direct Loan and or Parent Plus) to cover any institutional charges above tuition and fees, room, and board, (i.e., insurance, vehicle registration, etc.) the student/parent must sign an authorization statement each year provided by the business office. The student/parent is not required to sign the authorization statement, but if one is signed, it may be rescinded at any time. See FORM A to sign the authorization to use Title IV funds for items other than tuition and fees, room and board.
Finally, federal regulations require that "a student or student's parents be notified of the amount of Title IV, HEA (Higher Education Act) program funds the student can expect to receive, and how and when those funds will be paid." Much of this information is outlined in the billing and refund information, 2013 -2014 packet. Specific reference to billing and cash management is also outlined in materials sent from the financial aid office, specifically the award letter, policies brochure, and loan authorization form. Additional copies are available upon request from the financial aid office.
Students who withdraw from Bluffton University and follow the approved withdrawal procedures (see Refund Policies, University Catalog) will receive refunds for instructional fees, room, and board according to the following schedule:
- Up to and including the first day of classes in the semester 100% refund
- From 2nd day to 10% period of time in the semester 90% refund
- After 10% and up to 20% period of time in the semester 80% refund
- After 20% and up to 30% period of time in the semester 70% refund
- After 30% and up to 40% period of time in the semester 60% refund
- After 40% and up to 50% period of time in the semester 50% refund
- After 50% and up to 60% period of time in the semester 40% refund
- After 60% period of time in the semester No refund
Students who withdraw before the 60% period in time will have a percentage of their aid (including federal Title IV aid) returned to the aid program by the school and possibly by the student. The amount of federal aid (other than work study) to be returned is equal to the total federal aid that was disbursed for the term multiplied by the percentage of the term not attended.
If a refund amount is owed to the student, but the student has outstanding institutional charges, or if the student owes a repayment of a cash disbursement for non-institutional costs, the university will automatically apply the refund amount to those charges or repayment. Bluffton will also notify the student in writing if either situation has occurred.
Students who are Title IV (federal aid) recipients will have the return of those funds and repayments calculated and distributed as prescribed by federal law and regulation. These distribution schedules are available to all prospective and currently enrolled students by contacting the business office or the office of financial aid.
Any student who withdraws* from Bluffton University prior to completing 60 percent of the enrollment period or semester will have their financial aid eligibility recalculated based on the percentage of the period they were enrolled. Once a student has completed 60 percent of the period or semester, all financial aid assistance is considered to be 100 percent earned. This policy meets federal requirements in which students earn financial aid based on the percent of the term completed. Bluffton University maintains one refund policy for all federal, state and institutional aid funds based on 34 CFR, Section 668.22 of the Title IV Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended.
The Bluffton University financial aid office is responsible for calculating the percentage of earned aid for the semester and for returning the unearned aid portion to federal, state and institutional aid programs. The financial aid office will perform this calculation within 45 days of the student's withdrawal date*. This calculation is measured by dividing the number of days the student attended by the total number of days in the period or semester. The length of the period or semester is based on Bluffton's published academic calendar, including weekends and excluding scheduled breaks of 5 days or more. The first day begins on the first day of classes and ends on the last day of final exams.
*To officially withdraw, a student must contact the registrar's office. The registrar's office determines the official date of withdrawal.
The information above is for the 2014-15 academic year and is subject to change for subsequent years