Due to a processing issue on Aug. 21, 2017, duplicate electronic tuition payment requests were sent to the banks of 136 University tuition payers. These payers were temporarily charged double the cost of their tuition bill before the Office of Finance and Treasury was notified of the problem and authorized reversal transactions.
The Office has “taken steps with [their] processing vendor to guarantee this never happens again,” according to an email sent to the parents of University students by University Bursar Maria L. Bizzarri.
On August 11, the Office of Finance and Treasury had transitioned to a new billing and electronic payment vendor for the “TigerPay” system that processes tuition payments. A processing error at the new vendor, which has since been corrected, led to the accidental double charges. The office realized the error had occurred after parents called with questions about the additional charge.
Only the families who paid their tuition bill on Aug. 21 were affected by the error. Most of these families had their accounts debited properly by the University, offsetting the accidental charge they had received.
“I was completely confused and shocked. I called the school, and they told me to call my bank. I wanted to cry. I wanted my money back,” one parent said. “The money was credited back to my checking account the next day.”
“We got an overdraft notice from the bank since the school double-charged us for our son and daughter’s tuitions, which was a stressful ordeal. The school, for its part, credited the money back and apologized quickly,” said David Wu, a parent of two students at the University.
In “a small number of cases,” according to Bizzarri, tuition payers incurred bank overdraft charges or other fees; these payers were reimbursed by the University. In a few cases, the University requested a replacement payment for tuition. The Office of Finance and Treasury also sent out an official apology to those who submitted payments on Aug. 21.
“We are confident that this was a one-time problem,” Bizzarri stated. “The University is putting additional safeguards in place to prevent this issue from happening again.”
Student Accounts Manager Maureen A. Ciambrello deferred comment to Bizzarri.
The change in vendors also led to a delay in tuition payments. Tuition bills were posted on TigerPay later in the year than they have been posted in the past. According to the Office of Finance and Treasury’s website, the fall semester bill was due by Aug. 28 in past years. This year, however, families were notified on Aug. 24 that tuition would be due by Sept. 8, giving families a shorter time to make their payments.
“Tuition payments were delayed a bit this year because of the change in vendors,” Assistant Vice President for Communications Daniel Day wrote in an email.