Post Classifieds

What Happened with Check Change?

By James Trent
On February 1, 2018

Check Change was delayed by two weeks for some students.
Photo Courtesy of Pexels

Concord has implemented some changes this semester to the way check change is disbursed to students. These differences were made in the name of convenience, but many students are left in the cold as check change is later than ever.  

Before this semester, students were able to either pick up a physical check or opt to load it on the Onecard, which functions similarly to a debit card. Now, the students can choose between a physical check, direct deposit, or having their money placed on the Onecard.

Usually, check change could be expected on the second Friday of the semester. For example, the fall 2017 semester began on August 14, and check change was available on August 25. This semester’s check change was “available” on Jan. 19, but many students have not received their check change as much as a week after. One student, Seth McVey, says, “It’s my first semester actually getting check change, which is nice, but I am almost in the fourth week of school with no books because I’m waiting on my check.”

Official e-mails to the student body about the different delivery options say that paper checks, previously available on day one of check change, are now the slowest option, taking between seven to 10 days. Direct deposit is the second slowest, taking three to five, and the only option available on day one is now the Onecard. If students did not choose an option, they would automatically receive their funds through a paper check until the student specified another method.

These changes have left many people wondering why check change had to change, especially when it has caused a problem for so many students who rely on check change to purchase books and pay essential fees.

The answer to that begins last year with the Department of Education. The Department of Education decided that if an institution offered direct deposit for any reason in any position, they would now have to offer direct deposit for check change delivery. Vickie Blankenship, business manager at the Student Accounts office says that “Before [now] we had either paper check or a Onecard [for students]. Then they said, ‘you can’t force them to choose between a paper check or a Onecard.’ For years they considered the paper check a method of convenience, because they could take that and put it in their own bank account. But starting this past July, they said, ‘No, you have to offer direct deposit.’”

This brought with it a lot of complications. If everyone receiving check change was eligible for direct deposit, that would mean Concord would have to obtain, manage, and guard the banking information of every single student on campus. This would likely require a new position just to manage all that new information, which could possibly bring with it an increase to fees paid by students.

Instead, Concord’s solution was to use Blackboard. Blackboard, as a company, is much larger than the simple webhosting service most students might know it as. Blackboard offers a wide variety of services for colleges, including dormitory security and managing accounts payable to students. Now, instead of managing an entire database of personal banking information like routing and accounting numbers, Concord sends everything to Blackboard. Concord makes one large file which tells Blackboard how much money each student is supposed to receive, and Blackboard handles every step from then on, including delivery.

Onecard is available from day one for this reason. It is the service that Blackboard as direct control over. Paper checks are now the slowest option because Blackboard now prints out paper checks and mails them back to Concord students.

Check change disbursal is now largely out of Concord’s hands, but this is little consolation to the students still waiting for their refunds. For many students, even a three to four day wait for books and more can hurt.

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