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CASHNET improves tuition payment plan

Mills College recently announced it is replacing our current tuition payment system Tuition Management Services (TMS) with CashNet, whose Web site’s slogan promises to allow you to make “any payment, any time, anywhere.”

This is good news for students who have been using the College’s current provider to break up payments into monthly installments. A recent survey concluded that TMS is notorious among some students for being highly unreliable as a payment option. For example, some students have reported being under or over-billed by TMS. Others have noted an apparent lack of efficient communication between TMS and the M Center, which has resulted in inconsistencies about the total amount due. This has caused frustration for students and their families as well as the M Center, which was responsible for implementing and upholding the payment system in the first place.

Many students disagree with the outrageous fees they’ve been charged when they make a wrong or late payment. Although bills should ideally be paid on time, it is unfair to charge students excessive fees for something which may have been the result of the TMS Web site’s confusing interface.

With TMS, customers have to go to three different sites to make their payments, a confusing and time-consuming process in dire need of improvement. Mills has used TMS for about 10 years — it seems that during that time the company should have updated a system that has resulted in complaints from many of its customers.

Students who are critical of TMS’s confusing payment process may find comfort in the fact that CashNet offers to “share the same architecture, which means one integrated system for web payments, electronic billing, installment payment plans, electronic refunding, cashiering and departmental commerce,” according to its Web site.

Although Mills’ contract with TMS went on longer than it probably should have, the M center was right to respond as soon as they saw the survey results. Our tuition payment system has been too convoluted for too long and hopefully CashNet will produce improvements in the system’s efficiency.