Preparing for your first bill
5 steps to ensure you're ready for the first bill
As summer nears and students wrap up the school year, it’s hard to believe we’re only a few months away from fall classes at CMU. If you’re like me, you’re excited about your child taking a new step, a little sad that they’re growing up, and wondering when the bill is coming! I can’t help much with the first two items, but I can certainly help you with the last piece. Here are a few simple steps to get you financially ready for the fall:
1. View your pre-billing estimate
Did you know you can get a preview of your first bill? While your official bill doesn’t arrive until after September 5, your pre-billing estimate shows what you can expect on your bill. It's available as early as May and is updated throughout the summer.
Tuition costs will show as estimated until July when the Board of Trustees sets the new tuition rates. Once your student registers for courses at Orientation, you will see your actual tuition cost listed.
Similarly, housing costs are estimated until July and are based on your student's room and dining plan selections. If your student has not yet completed the selections, your pre-billing estimate will reflect a standard room rate with an unlimited meal plan.
Important note – To view your pre-billing estimate, have your student sign in at cmich.edu. Scroll down to the “Finances” section and locate “Pre-billing Estimate.” This resource becomes available in late May and is updated whenever new information becomes available.
2. Know the when, where, and how (much)Your student’s bill for the fall semester will be available after September 5 and will be emailed to their cmich.edu account. Balances on this statement are due October 2 by 5 p.m. Students will receive a separate bill for each semester they take classes. Here is a link to the billing timeline so you're not caught by surprise the rest of the year.
Important note – If you are an authorized payer (see #4 below), you will receive the same billing email that your student receives.
3. Consider a payment plan
Interest-free payment plans are available and can be divided across three, four, or five monthly payments. To sign up for the plan, have your student sign in at cmich.edu and find “Payment Plan Enrollment” in the “Finances” section. Enrollment deadlines, payment dates, and additional details can be found in that link or on the public Payment Plan page. There is a $55 enrollment fee each semester and you must sign up for each semester separately.
Important note – You can start making payments even before you receive your first bill. Note the registration deadlines and initial payment dates for these plans, as several occur over the summer.
4. Set up an authorized payer
This was one of the first steps I completed with my daughter because I wanted the ability to see her bill and make sure it was paid in a timely manner. Authorized payers are individuals who plan to assist the student with understanding the bill and/or make payments on behalf of the student. This is also how your student will grant you access to their billing information. Authorized payers are granted billing portal access through their own login credentials. To set up an authorized payer, have your student sign in at cmich.edu and click the “View/Pay My Bill” link in the “Finances” section.
Important note – 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 a student completing the Authorized Payer process, parents and other third parties cannot see any billing information.
5. Know where to find help
Specializing in financial aid and billing, OneCentral is your one-stop shop for the “business” of being a student. They are a great first stop when navigating various CMU departments and offices. OneCentral is in the Bovee University Center underneath Starbucks. They are available for walk-in traffic and can be reached at email@example.com or 989-774-3618. They also offer dedicated appointments in-person, by phone, or virtually.
Important note – We recommend you and your student attend a kick-off financial training session with OneCentral. These one-on-one meetings, considered a voluntary portion of the orientation process, specifically review your financial relationship with CMU. OneCentral staff are available to meet in-person or virtually.
You have enough to worry about with all the details leading up to the fall, such as making housing choices, helping to decorate a room, and having your kid head off on a new journey. Taking these few simple pieces of advice can ensure you know what to expect from a financial standpoint. You’ll have the peace of mind knowing you’ve prepared for it as well as you can.