Students can charge books to U accounts

Josh Linehan

For all those who have sat through three weeks of class without books while they wait for their financial aid check to arrive, help is on the way.

Starting today, students can buy books at University Bookstores and charge the purchases to their student accounts.

The change – more than three years in the making – went live in the St. Paul bookstore March 3 and will begin at the Coffman Union store today.

By showing their U Cards and another form of photo identification, shoppers can buy books and defer the expenses to their tuition bills.

Bob Crabb, University Bookstores director, said his office has wanted to offer this option for years but was slowed by the University’s switch to a PeopleSoft registration and student accounts receivable system.

“We’ve wanted to do this for a long time; it’s been a long process,” Crabb said. “When we first tried to implement it some of the staff didn’t want the extra complication added to the changeover.

“But we’ve got it done now and I think it should be a nice feature for students,” he said.

With an interface between PeopleSoft and the University Bookstores computer system now complete, students can charge at the store and factor books and supplies into the cost of tuition.

The driving force behind the change was the lag time – often weeks – between the start of classes and the actual disbursement of financial aid.

The PeopleSoft conversion caused minor turmoil on campus three years ago when the Web registration system crashed and numerous bugs required fixing.

The student account payment option is another feature added with the opening of the new, centralized bookstore in the basement of the remodeled Coffman Union.

The University now operates one centralized bookstore in Coffman along with the St. Paul and Law School stores.

Crabb said students are not limited to textbooks and may charge supplies, clothing and other University paraphernalia to their accounts.

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