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Payments go green on IrishPay

Kristen Durbin | Thursday, September 2, 2010

With the implementation of the new online student account system, IrishPay, the Office of Student Financial Services will save nearly 400,000 sheets of paper each year and parents and students are able to make payments online.

“Sustainability was definitely a driving force behind the transition to the online system,” said Michael Riemke, associate director of Student Financial Services.

Compared to the previous paper-based student account payment system, the IrishPay system will save 398,253 total sheets of paper — the equivalent of 12,639 pounds of carbon dioxide and 47,741 gallons of wastewater each year, based on the Environmental Defense Fund’s paper calculator.

In addition to making the student account system more sustainable, the Office responded to several requests from parents and students to have the ability to pay student account balances online.

“There was previously no mechanism available for account balances to be paid online,” Riemke said. “The biggest change is that parents now have the ability to see their student’s statements and make immediate payments online with student authorization.”

In the past, the Federal Right to Privacy Act prohibited parents from seeing their child’s account activity until a paper statement was mailed to them. Now, IrishPay allows students to authorize a parent, guardian, grandparent or other person to view their account activity and make nearly instantaneous payments online, Riemke said.

“IrishPay allows both parents and students to see real-time account activity as soon as it occurs, so they can immediately make online payments,” he said.

In addition, parents have the option to print hard copies of the statements if they wish to do so, and students and parents are not mandated to pay online.

After official production work on IrishPay began in May, students received both an online and a mailed statement as an initial notification that the system would change shortly, said Charlie Castline, assistant director of Student Accounts.

The first online account statements regarding fees for the fall semester were distributed in June and July.

So far, the response to IrishPay has been overwhelmingly positive from parents, students and staff alike, Riemke said.

“Parents love being able to see their students’ account activity,” Riemke said. “Overall, the system has been a response to customer feedback and the positive response we have been receiving.”