The Office of the Bursar has decided to no longer mail monthly paper bill statements to students’ mailing addresses.
The transition officially went into effect July 1, and students are encouraged to use the link in their monthly email statements from the Bursar’s Office to pay their tuition and fees online.
The online statement site was created by Bursar Edward Ratliff and senior technical architect Chris Provence, along with a team of people from each department within the Bursar’s Office.
“We have been talking for years about starting e-bills,” Ratliff said. “We have been actively working on it since January and were finally able to inform everyone about the change in late spring and officially ‘go live’ over the summer.”
According to Ratliff, the site required a lot of testing in order to make it simple and consistent across all platforms.
“With any project, challenges are expected,” Provence said. “No problems that were unexpected occurred with this project during the development phase. With the proper planning and the timeline we had for the project, it was not as difficult as we initially thought it would be.”
Prior to the transition, Ratliff said the office was sending around eight to nine thousand statements to students during slow months and over 20,000 statements during busy months.
Ratliff said that on postage alone, the office is now saving about $2,000 with the use of electronic statements.
“By sending electronic statements, not only are we trying to do our part towards the green initiative, but we are also saving several thousands of dollars in printing costs,” he said. “There are still a few students and parents who request paper, however, the majority of people have a good response to the change.”
Ratliff said the Bursar’s Office is only mailing a few hundred paper statements each month to former students whose myOleMiss account is inactive, but who still owe a balance to the university.
Students who prefer a printed statement for a legitimate reason are able to print it from the link provided in the email. The printed statement is still official and contains the university logo.
Ratliff said sending electronic rather than paper statements will not only benefit the university and the Bursar’s Office, but students and parents as well.
“It is more efficient and convenient by getting the statements to the students sooner and giving the students or guardians more time to pay it,” Ratliff said. “The statements are also more current because the link provides a real-time view of the account rather than an older paper statement.”
According to Ratliff, students are accustomed to the world’s increased use of technology, which makes paying statements online easier. Students can now pay bills at any time of any day, even holidays.
“It’s more self-service,” he said. “We would also like to create a mobile bursar site sometime in the future. That will make it even easier for the students to access their statements.”