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Simple Steps to Prepare for Your First Bill

Students are wrapping up the school year, and summer is near. It’s hard to believe we’re only a few months away from fall classes at CMU. If you’re like me—when my daughter went to college last year—you’re excited about your child taking a new step, feeling a little sad they’re growing up, wondering when the bill is coming, and considering what the total will be! I can’t help much with the first two items, but I can certainly help you with the last piece. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for the upcoming expense. 

Get your pre-billing estimate and be better prepared

This feature is available beginning in early June. With the official bill being available after September 6th, the pre-billing estimate gives a potential semester balance. You can find this estimate in the "My Account" page on the website, under the Finances section. It’s updated daily as information is available.

Pro Tip: The pre-billing estimate uses actual tuition, fees and financial aid activity to generate the estimate. As classes and financial aid are applied to a student’s account the estimate is updated. Housing and food costs are estimated at the standard housing rate with the unlimited meal plan. The pre-billing estimate could be off if those are not the options you’re choosing. If so, it may be worth contacting our OneCentral office to get a better estimate of your costs.

Keep track of key dates

Official bills, for the Fall semester, will be available after September 6th with a due date of October 1st by 5 p.m. An email notice will be sent to your student’s account and to authorized payers (see #3 below), directing them to their QuikPAY account. There will be a separate bill for students each semester, and the billing timeline can be found here.

Pro Tip: Authorized payers receive the same billing email their student receives at the email they list in the payer authorization process.

Consider an authorized payer role

This was one of the first steps I took with my daughter, because I wanted to be able to see her bill and make sure things were paid for in a timely manner. Authorized payers plan to assist their student with understanding the bill and/or making payments on a student’s behalf. This is also how the billing office determines who the student has granted access to their billing information. Authorized payers have their own login page and credentials. To set up authorized payers, your student will find the link inside the "My Account" page, under the Finances section and View/Pay my Bill.

Pro Tip: The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) protects the privacy of individual students by placing certain restrictions on the disclosure of information contained in university records. In order for CMU to release billing information to any third party (including parents), a student must first grant permission. Without completing the Authorized Payer process, parents and other third parties cannot see any student billing information.

Consider a payment plan

Interest-free payment plans are available at CMU and can be divided across 3, 4 or 5 monthly payments. These payments are automatically drawn on the 10th of every month and allow you to extend beyond the standard semester due date. There is a $55 enrollment fee each semester, and you must sign up for each semester separately. These plans are found inside your student’s “My Account” page under the Finances section. Enrollment deadlines (the first is July 5th), payment dates, and further details can be found in that same "My Account" section or on the public Payment Plan page.

Know where to find answers

The OneCentral Office is your one-stop shop for the “business” of being a student, specializing in financial aid and billing. They are a great first stop when navigating various CMU departments and offices. OneCentral is in the Bovee University Center underneath the Starbucks. They are available for walk-in traffic and can be reached at or 989-774-3618. They also offer dedicated appointments in-person, by phone, or virtually.


Download "Money Matters," a financial resource guide full of additional details to help you with each of these five steps.


With everything happening as college approaches—graduation, open houses, housing choices, and sending your child on a new journey—there is plenty to worry about. Take these few simple pieces of advice and know you’ve prepared as well as you can. 

We hope this information proves helpful to you and your family. Let us know if you have any questions, and …

Fire Up Chips!


Blog: Admissions Director's Blog posted | Last Modified: | Author: by Bob Garcia, Senior Director of Admissions | Categories: Admissions Admissions & Aid
The views and opinions expressed in these blog pages are strictly those of the page author.