Citing drastic budget cuts, university officials said that beginning spring quarter, the university will no longer absorb the fees that credit card companies charge when students pay their bills online using a credit card. The change in the payment process could save the university more than $500,000 and help protect staff positions, explained Darwin Labordo, associate vice president of finance and administrative services. He added that Cal Poly Pomona is the last of the CSU campuses that still pays the credit card fees.
Credit card fees were one of the many issues that students raised during the winter quarter Brown Bag with the Presidents on Feb. 9. Hosted by university President Michael Ortiz and ASI President Richard Liu, the open forum addressed the possible changes in the academic programs, the state budget and the CSU graduation initiative.
During the evening event, university officials suggested that students use alternative payment methods that don’t incur what the credit card industry calls a convenience fee. Those options include electronic checks (echecks) through BroncoDirect, cash, checks, money orders and the installment payment plan. They also encouraged students to visit the financial aid office to seek out grants, scholarships and loans, especially if their or their family’s financial situation has changed.
Labordo said he hopes to minimize disruption as the university adjusts the payment process. “We’ll be a lot more flexible than we have been in the past,” he said.
Because of unprecedented cuts in state support for the CSU, Cal Poly Pomona is evaluating its academic programs and ways to restructure them, changes that may close or merge some small programs. Marten denBoer, provost and vice president of academic affairs, said he is engaging faculty and departments in a two-way conversation about the quality, value and cost of each program. Before any changes are made, however, the Academic Senate will first review the recommendations.
“Can we afford to do everything we’d like to do at Cal Poly Pomona? My answer to that is we probably can’t,” denBoer said. The closing or merger of some programs would create a significant cost savings, he said.
Regardless of the outcome, denBoer added, current students in a major will be served. The university will make sure the courses they need to graduate will be available, he said.
Ortiz challenged students to monitor the deliberations in Sacramento regarding the state budget and how it affects higher education. The CSU needs champions of higher education in the Legislature – or else the higher education community must “find those who will (be) and put them there,” he said.
The president invited the campus community to attend upcoming meetings with state senators Bob Huff on Feb. 19 and Gloria McLeod on April 16. The meetings are part of the president’s effort to advocate for Cal Poly Pomona and gain public support for higher education. More information will be available via email and on PolyCentric.
The next Brown Bag with the Presidents will be April 6 at noon in the University Quad. Students are encouraged to send questions to Ortiz by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.