Sponsored – Financial Friday: Automate Payments and Spread Out Costs with PittPAY Payment Plan

Photo via my.pitt.edu

For many families with a student in college, the most painful part of the whole experience is paying large tuition bills each semester. But Pitt offers a payment option that could be slightly less painful.

The PittPAY Payment Plan is an alternative to the traditional lump sum payment at the beginning of each semester for the entire semester’s cost. Instead, the payment plan provides automatic payments starting before and extending in to each semester.  This can both spread out the cost of a semester’s tuition and make paying bills less of a hassle due to the plan’s automation. Whatever the reason, the payment plan might be worth looking into now as you are planning your finances for this coming fall. The earlier you enroll in a payment plan, the more monthly installments you will receive.  For example, the first installment for the fall 2017 semester will be processed next month, on May 5, 2017.

The fall and spring payment plans have a maximum of six installments per semester; the summer plan has up to three installments. The enrollment fee for each semester plan is $45.  If you choose to enroll in a fall plan, you will be presented with the option to enroll in a spring plan when you are done signing up for fall, which will save you the bother of remembering to sign up for a spring plan when that semester rolls around. 

Students or Authorized Users who enroll in a payment plan must set up automatic withdrawals either from a U.S. checking account, or a credit or debit card.  Once you are enrolled in a payment plan, you will be excluded from Pitt’s regular due date reminder emails for that term, because you have a payment plan agreement with the University.

As payers often cannot know what exactly their total costs will be for an upcoming semester, the plan involves a monthly process called rebalancing. The payer estimates his or her upcoming costs if they enroll in a plan before there are actual charges on the student account, and the payment plan creates monthly installments based off of those estimates. Once you register for classes, your plan will be included in the automatic monthly rebalancing to be sure your remaining installments will cover your account balance in full by the time your plan ends. You will be notified by email when this happens so you have time to review changes to your installment schedule and can contact the Student Payment Center if you need assistance. 

If you enroll early, before you have actual charges on your account, you can use a tool called the Payment Plan Estimator to get started. This estimation of your charges is a simple process of selecting the factors that pertain to you (full-time or part-time, in-state or out-of-state student, program of enrollment, etc.).  Next, you’ll be asked to estimate cost-reducing factors such as grants, scholarships and loans. Finally, the student chooses the amount of installments they want. The amount of installments available depends on how quickly one enrolls. The quicker this happens, the more installments you can receive.  In order to receive the full amount of installments for the next academic year or the fall 2017 semester, students must enroll on or before the deadline of May 4, 2017.

The cost of college is in many ways inevitable, but the way you pay those costs doesn’t have to be. Whether you’re trying to spread out costs or just want to automate your payment process, the PittPAY Payment Plan could be beneficial to you. If you are interested in this payment method, visit the Student Payment Center website and click Payments, then Payment Plans to learn more.

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" John Hamilton : @jham1496 Managing Editor."