Letter: Student Loans Payment System Charges Unfair Fees; Administration Should Consider a Change

By Letter to the Editor

I want to make a request directly to the University of Chicago administration regarding its current student loans payment system, and in particular its use of www.mycampusloan.com. As a former student with my fair share of student loans, I have no qualms about the burden of paying off the loans that I agreed to. However, I find this service absolutely substandard and ridiculous for an institution like the University of Chicago.

My issue is with the service fee for using a debit or credit card to pay your student loans. To be fair, one cannot expect too much of a website whose layout appears to have been created in the late ’90s, but using a third-party service that charges a 4.5 percent convenience fee for any card payment is unjustifiable. For students like myself who prefer to make larger payments when a work bonus or tax return comes along, a payment of $1,000 becomes an additional $40 in the website’s pocket. Although students can avoid this fee by setting up recurring payments, which still entail a $0.99 fee, or by sending checks in the mail, the issue remains that the convenience of card payments is being exploited by this third-party organization.

Clearly $40 isn’t much in the grand scheme of things, and setting up an account to draw money directly from your bank account does have a reasonable convenience fee. However, given its $7 billion endowment, and a cost of education among the highest in the nation, perhaps the University could do its alumni a favor and find a student loan service that isn’t ripping off its former students. I made a financial commitment to the University of Chicago that I am happy to uphold, but for the sake of future students, the administration should take a few days to find a different student loans suitor, such as Great Lakes, who doesn’t charge these convenience fees.

—Ian Hartitz, A.B. ’15