The accounts receivable module within the Colleague system is the area through which all charges and credits are recorded. Charges and credits are generated either by the Bursar’s Office directly or by transmitting all charges and credits from other departments (Registrar, Student Affairs and Athletics).
A Student Account can be created directly by the Bursar’s Office, when applying an application fee or tuition deposit or by running the billing processor either by the Bursar’s Office or during registration processing through automatic billing.
4. CATEGORIZATION OF STUDENTS
All Worcester State College applicants and students must be categorized into a program to determine various academic factors and financial factors (such as application of different tuition rates). Program categorization is two-part: study profile and award level. There is a corresponding two letter code to represent each program. This categorization has been designed to meet federal and state reporting requirements as well as internal administrative needs. A student’s program code is the most important piece of data needed to allow computerized operation of administrative tasks. Processing of a student’s academic, financial, social and other interactions with the College are entirely dependent on the program code.
5. CATEGORIZATION OF STUDENTS (continued)
Currently, the available program codes are as follows:
MS,ME Graduate, evening, degree seeking student
GRNON Graduate,evening,non-degree program student
GX Graduate, evening, special student
BA,BS Undergraduate, day, degree seeking student
NONDEGREE Undergraduate, day, non-degree program student
SECBA Undergraduate, second degree
BX Undergraduate, day, special student
6. ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE OVERVIEW
When a student’s account is charged for the following, a receivable is generated and revenue is recorded:
a. Application fee (non-refundable)
b. Tuition deposit (non-refundable)
c. Dorm Deposit
d. Tuition and fees
e. Residence charges
f. Health insurance (waivable fee)
g. Mass PIRG fee (waivable fee)
To clear the receivable, a cash receipt, financial aid, reversal, or write-off would be applied to the student’s account. These actions include:
a. Payment by check
b. Payment by Master Card/Visa
c. Financial Aid Award
d. Waiver application
e. Withdrawal from school
f. Write-off of student’s account
The following section (Section 7) describes how credit transactions are processed. The remainder of this section describes how the charges are processed.
7. NON-REFUNDABLE CHARGES AND FEES
a. Application fees
When a student applies, the student sends a non-refundable application fee along with their application to the Admissions Office. At that time, the application fee charge is posted to the student’s account. After the charge is entered, the checks are forwarded to the Bursar’s Office for reconciliation and deposit.
b. Tuition Deposit
Upon acceptance into the college, students must pay a non-refundable tuition deposit that will be credited towards tuition upon matriculation. The Admissions Office receives this deposit and forwards them to the Bursar’s Office. The tuition deposit charge is then posted to the student’s account before the billing is processed. After this charge is entered, the checks are processed through the cash receipt process.
c. Dorm Deposit
When a student is accepted into the Residence Halls, a non-refundable room deposit is required. This fee is received by either the Admissions Office, for new students, or the Residence Life Office, for returning students. Both offices forward the checks to the Bursar’s Office for processing. The room deposit charge is then posted to the student’s account and the checks are processed through the cash receipt process. The deposit is later applied to the room charge for the following semester.
8. TUITION AND FEE CHARGES FROM PRE-REGISTRATION
Pre-registration for day classes is held every April for the coming Fall Semester and in the November for the coming Spring Semester. When the students register for their classes, charges are generated based upon the following criteria:
a. Number of credit hours determines the tuition charges.
b. Student’s program (day, evening, graduate) determines the fee charges.
c. Student type determines any waiver eligibility.
A student is not allowed to pre-register if a HOLD FLAG is present on their record. HOLD FLAGS are placed on a student’s record if a student has an outstanding balance due to the College as a whole or a specific department, such as the library or bookstore.
TUITION AND FEE CHARGES FROM PRE-REGISTRATION (continued)
After pre-registration is concluded, the Computer Center runs a billing in July and December, recording each student’s account receivable and the tuition and fee revenue for the appropriate semester. Individual statements are mailed to each student with an August or January due date.
In addition to pre-registration, students may register for courses through Mail-in and Walk-in Registration period. This period occurs after the billing is completed. Therefore, payment is required at the time of registration. Immediately following this Registration, a review will be done of all students having an outstanding balance due. At this point a student’s registration can be canceled for non- payment.
All students having an unpaid balance at the close of Registration period are reviewed for deletion from classes. After deletion of unpaid Student Registrations, a report will be issued listing students in a registered status. Course rosters are run indicating students registered into the course.
9. ADD/DROP PROCESSING
Students may add or drop courses during the first two weeks of each semester. During this period the student’s account is automatically recalculated based on any changes in status. If this results in additional charges the student is required to pay this balance immediately. At the close of the Add/Drop Period, a final review is done of all students having an outstanding balance due. A student’s registration is then canceled for non-payment and they are deleted from course rosters.
10. TUITION WAIVERS
Certain groups of students may be considered eligible for either a full or partial tuition waiver. Veterans, Senior Citizens, Native Americans and members of the Armed Forces are some of these categories of students. Also, state employees and their dependents may have some or all of their tuition waived. These waivers result in a credit against the tuition charged to their account during the registration process.
11. TUITION WAIVERS (continued)
Students who are eligible for a waiver must present a voucher or other written authorization every semester to verify his/her eligibility for a waiver. Upon presentation of this documentation, the Bursar’s Office updates the student’s Accounts Receivable file to properly reflect the correct “Student Type”. If this information is received prior to the close of the Add/Drop period, the Auto-Biller will correctly adjust the student’s account for the appropriate amount of tuition waiver based on the student’s classification. After the Add/Drop period, Bursar’s Office personnel must manually adjust the student’s account.
12. ADJUSTMENTS TO ACCOUNTS
When a student’s status changes, such as day to evening program, a change of credit hours occurs or when a waiver is presented to reduce tuition and fee charges, a recalculation of the account is required. The system will automatically recalculate the student’s charges while the Automatic Biller is on through the Add/Drop period. After that time, manual adjustments must be made to the student’s account.
Changes in a student’s status originally occurs at the Registrar’s Office. At that time, the student’s file is adjusted for this change. For example, the Registration Module would have to be utilized to change a student’s schedule when any changes occur in credit hours. The Registrar’s Office then notifies the Office of Financial Affairs when any of these changes occur. Any changes to credit hours are processed by the Bursar’s Office.
Manual adjustments are made by comparing the student’s current charges for the semester to the total amount for tuition and fees that should be charged after the change in status occurs. For example, if a student reduces his credit hours from twelve to nine, the amount charged based on twelve credit hours is compared to charges for nine credit hours. The student’s account is then adjusted for the difference between the two cases for all tuition and fee categories.
13. PAYMENT PLANS
Payment of all charges is due in full by the due date specified on the student bill. Students whose accounts have not been paid in full, or otherwise cleared by the finance office, will be subject to cancellation of class enrollment. The College reserves the right to withhold grades, transcripts, and/or diplomas from any student with outstanding financial obligations.
14. PAYMENT PLANS (continued)
Monthly payment plans through external agencies are available for students to help alleviate the financial burden this policy places on certain students. In order for these students who legitimately defer payment of charges under these plans not to be penalized, this payment plan must be set up in the Accounts Receivable system. Bursar’s Office personnel are responsible for doing this.
15. FINANCIAL AID TRANSMITTALS
Financial aid transmittal is used to update financial aid award information (of accepted awards only) to the student’s account as well as creating subsequent postings to the general ledger. The following types of credits reduce the student’s accounts receivable balance:
1. Perkins loans
2. SEOG awards
3. PELL grants
4. Massachusetts State Scholarships
5. Massachusetts Part-time Student grants
6. Massachusetts Honor Scholarships
7. Massachusetts Cash Grants
8. Other General Scholarship fund awards
Financial aid transmittals are processed weekly when the majority of financial aid is being awarded and bi-weekly during the remainder of the semester. The Bursar’s Office processes the transmittal after notification from the Financial Aid Office that they have processed their awards on student’s accounts. This process consists of allocating these financial aid awards to the student’s Accounts Receivable account. A report is then printed out in the Bursar’s Office. This report is checked and a copy is given to the Financial Aid Office for their records.
16. THIRD-PARTY BILLINGS FOR STUDENT A/R
Certain students have arrangements with specific agencies or their employer for payment of their total or partial bill, tuition and/or fees. In some of these cases the students are not required to follow the above procedures for payment of their bills. The Bursar’s Office recognizes these students as having a payment plan and bill the specific agencies or the employer for the appropriate amount. One of these agencies is the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission. Various large employers in the Worcester area with policies including tuition reimbursement for employees are also included.
17. MISCELLANEOUS CHARGE/CREDIT TRANSMITTAL
Various charges and credit information from the student affairs modules (housing, athletics, etc.) are transmitted to the Accounts Receivable detail records. One particular charge is the Dorm Damage Deposit charged to all resident students. This charge is applied by the Residence Halls staff and appears on the student’s account for the Fall Semester.
After student’s leave at the conclusion of the Spring Semester, damages to the dorms are determined and charges are assessed to all resident students depending on specific areas. The housing staff also apply these charges. After these are assessed the damage deposit is then reversed and the student is either billed for damages above the deposit or a refund is given for the portion of the deposit greater than the damages assessed.
Certain students who were previously assessed non-refundable tuition and/or dorm deposits later do not attend the college. In these cases the Bursar’s Office must forfeit these charges on the student’s account. Students are not refunded these deposits.
18. STUDENT REFUNDS
Certain procedures discussed in this Section and the next result in a Credit balance in a student’s Accounts Receivable account. For example, a cash overpayment, application of financial aid greater than a student’s balance at that time, the student’s withdrawal from school or the application of a waiver can result in such a credit. In these cases the student’s have to be refunded this balance.
A special refund policy mandated by federal regulation applies to students in attendance at Worcester State College, enrolled in regularly schedules classes and receiving financial aid. These students who formally withdraw from the College must have their refunds calculated according to the approved schedule which is published in the College catalog. This procedure involves allocating a specific percentage of student charges depending on the number of weeks that have progressed in the semester at the time of withdrawal. Prior to processing any refunds, the Bursar’s Office must determine whether a student who has withdrawn falls into this category. If so, federal policy requires that all refunds must first be applied to any sources of financial aid, in proportion to aid received, before any credit or refund is made to the individual. This policy can be changed to correspond to any changes in federal financial aid regulations.
19. STUDENT REFUNDS (continued)
Student refunds are processed by the Bursar’s Office. The procedures involve obtaining a listing of students with a credit balance and reviewing activity for accuracy. This review then determines all students who are due a refund. These are then processed through the Accounts Payable module as Student Refunds. The vouchers are prepared by the Bursar’s Office and then the checks are prepared by the Accounts Payable Department.
20. STUDENT ACCOUNT RECEIVABLE WRITE-OFFS
Outstanding student Accounts Receivable balances are reviewed on an ongoing basis throughout the year and sent to a collection agency by the Bursar’s Office when appropriate. Reports are received from the collection agency of accounts not collected which are considered closed in the first collection and are then sent to a second collection agency for collection. The Bursar’s Office receives statements from the second placement agency when accounts are determined to be uncollectible. When an account is considered to be uncollectible from second placement, it is written off in the accounts receivable module by the Assistant Comptroller or sent to the State Comptroller for the Intercept Program. Accounts returned from second placement are written off, or sent to Intercept, in November and May. In addition, a separate review of all outstanding balances is prepared annually in May by using an aged trial balance report. This report is used in analyzing any other accounts that may need to be written off so that all accounts that meet the write off criteria are written off each year. Each student account to be written off is analyzed to determine which source should be written off in COLLEAGUE based on unallocated amounts. A spreadsheet is prepared and used as the source document for write-offs. Write-offs of state tuition must also be approved by the Office of the State Comptroller. A Write Off Request Form is completed summarizing the state tuition write-offs. The form is then submitted to the Office of the State Comptroller for approval and processing through the State’s Accounts Receivable BARS System.