Gary Sing 0

Remove the $35 fee!

76 signers. Add your name now!
Gary Sing 0 Comments
76 signers. Almost there! Add your voice!
Maxine K. signed just now
Adam B. signed just now

UPDATE 3 (Friday, 10/3): The Harvard Graduate Dormitory Council has agreed to support this cause! ( In any meetings with Administration, they will send an officer to represent the GSAS Residence Hall population. UPDATE 2 (Tuesday, 9/30): The Harvard Crimson wrote an article about this petition! It was featured on the front page - here's a link to the article ( UPDATE: I've had several people discuss with me the validity of my first point that the University loses no money with the monthly plan. They have pointed out that, in fact, the University DOES lose money because of the interest that would have accrued if the bills had been paid all at once. I concede this point, but raise a counter-point. Academic institutions and banking institutions are fundamentally different beasts. The main purpose of a bank is to make a profit, whether it be through offering services for a fee, investment of customers' deposits, or other methods. The primary purpose of an academic institution is to educate, NOT to make a profit. Of course, that education needs to be funded, but the idea that a university would charge a fee to recoup lost interest while at the same time touting its ability to offer financial aid seems quite off. ****************** The Harvard Student Billing Office charges a $35 fee per semester to students when they choose to make housing/tuition payments on a monthly basis rather than with a one-time, lump-sum payment. Fees are often times understandably necessary; this fee, however is not. The stated reason for why this $35 fee has been implemented, as described by Ellen McCullough, manager of Student Financial Services, is as follows: "The $35 fee helps to make up for the income lost to the University for charges that are not paid in full when they are billed and allows us to offer most students the choice of paying their student bill in installments." This explanation contains several major flaws. First, the University loses *no* income from students who choose to use the monthly payment plan - it is merely delayed. Second, the $35 fee is trivial when compared to the amounts of the bills that students are paying - it would hardly help to make up for that income. Third, Harvard does not need to levy any more fees on students - this fee in and of itself is in direct opposition to the stated goal of the University to not let financial considerations prevent any student from attending the College. (, see 5th and 6th paragraphs). Furthermore, it is universities such as Harvard that are prompting US senators to consider proposing legislation forcing universities to use at least 5% of their endowments every year towards reducing student tuition costs ( If we want this $35 fee to be removed, we need to let Administration know that there is a substantial body of students on campus who care about this issue and want to engage in dialogue. Would you please sign this petition and forward it to your friends and coworkers to show your support Many thanks. Peace, Gary Sing A typical graduate student P.S. I became interested in this issue when I was forced to pay a $35 fee for choosing the monthly payment option for my GSAS Residence Hall housing bill. Below is Ellen McCullough's full e-mail reply to me concerning this issue. ********************* Dear Gary, The University's policy is that students must pay their charges in full unless, if their school allows it, they sign up for the monthly payment plan. The payment plan was not designed exclusively for GSAS students to pay their housing charges from their stipend, but was set up for all students who are unable to pay their total tuition and fees for a semester in a lump sum. Although some schools at Harvard do not allow their students to participate in the monthly payment plan, most do and it is seen as a compromise between the need for the University to collect it's receivables in a timely way and the need for some students to defer payments over the course of the semester. The $35 fee helps to make up for the income lost to the University for charges that are not paid in full when they are billed and allows us to offer most students the choice of paying their student bill in installments. I hope this information helps to explain our policy. Please let me know if you have further questions. Sincerely, Ellen McCullough Manager, Student Financial Services


I am a normal graduate student at Harvard who believes this $35 fee to be ridiculous.
Share for Success