College Planning

3 Things to Know About Your Fall College Bill

You’ve registered for fall semester courses and you’re ready to start your first day of collegebut do you know when your tuition, fees, and other charges are due and how you’ll pay? Have you checked your student account? Colleges typically provide access to an online student account when you receive a bill for the fall before the term starts. In most cases you’ll get a bill that lists your costs after registering for classes. Make sure you check your bill online on your student account portal for information about how much you owe. Before you pay, make sure you understand the charges applied to your account, the payments applied, any pending financial aid credits, and the balance due. Below are steps you can take to ensure your account is in good standing. 

Step 1: Find your bill

Most universities will post your fall charges to a bill located on your student account. Find out about the office that creates your student account and processes payments. It may be the Bursar’s Office, Student Financial Services, Student Accounts, or the Billing Office. Make sure to check your account periodically and contact the appropriate office if you haven’t received a bill or your account is in danger of becoming past due. You should also check your email (college and personal accounts) for a notification from your school. 

Here are some examples of how to contact your college about your bill:   


If you email your college, you can say:

Dear (college name and name of office),                                       
My name is [your name], student ID [your ID number, if you know it]. I am enrolled and have registered for classes but have not yet received my bill.

When can I expect to receive it?

Thank you for your help.                                                                                 

[your name]       


If you call your college, you can ask:

My name is [your name]. I’m enrolled and registered for classes but have not received my bill. I’d like to know when I’ll receive it.


Here are some follow-up questions to ask: 

  • What are the options to pay my bill?
  • Is it possible to get on a payment plan? 
  • Does my financial aid cover all my fall charges? (if you’re receiving aid)

Step 2: Make sure your bill is accurate and includes financial aid (if applicable)

If you receive financial aid, ensure your expected funds (grants, scholarships, and loans) have been applied. Have your financial aid award notification available when checking your bill. If you have external scholarships that have not been received, follow up with the scholarship provider.

The following charges may appear on your account:

  • Tuition: Check with your university to confirm tuition rates.
  • Fees: This may include special instructional (lab) fees, activity fees, healthcare costs, etc.
  • Housing: If you’re living in residence halls or other on-campus housing.
  • Meal plans or dining plans.


Step 3: Pay your bill prior to the due date

Each student’s bill may look different based on class, meal plan, and housing choices. Payment options may also vary. Some students may sign up for a payment plan and pay balances over time. Some students may have all charges covered by financial aid and others may pay all charges directly. If you can’t pay all charges by the due date, contact your college to explore alternatives—additional financial aid or special emergency aid programs may be available. Contact the appropriate office at your college before your bill is due to avoid late charges or class cancellation.


Other tips to consider:

  • If you prefer to have your parent or guardian review your student account, ask if your college allows you to give them permission and access.
  • If you’re expecting a financial aid refund (when the financial aid you received is greater than your charges), ask if your college offers direct deposit to your bank account and how to set it up.