Billing, refunds and financial aid 2020-21

The Billing and Refund Information has several purposes: 1) to acquaint you with Bluffton University billing periods and financial policies; 2) to help you calculate what your costs will be; 3) to help you determine a suitable payment plan. Please read this material carefully.

Financial aid for returning students >

Bluffton's academic year has two semesters — fall and spring. The cost for each semester will be approximately the same for full-time students. Each semester will be billed separately.

Bluffton offers two payment plans. You must select one of these plans by indicating your choice on the Payment Information Form. Send the completed form to the business office. If you choose the monthly plan you should make your first payment by July 15. SUBSEQUENT PAYMENTS WILL BE DUE ON THE FIRST OF THE MONTH. THE MONTHLY PAYMENT PLAN OPTION IS NOT AVAILABLE AFTER AUG 17, 2020.

The following payment plans are acceptable:

  • Payment-in-Full Plan. Each semester's bill is due before the first day of classes of that semester. The bill is calculated on the actual costs for that semester.
  • Ten-Month Plan. The student's ESTIMATED yearly costs (assumes 12-17 academic hours per semester) are divided into ten equal installments. Payments begin in July and continue through April. Your first payment is due by July 15 with subsequent payments due on the first of each month. There is no finance charge if the plan is up to date. Because ACTUAL costs MAY exceed estimated costs (i.e., a student registers for more than 17 hours in either semester) a larger payment in April may be necessary. This payment plan option is not available after Aug 17, 2020.

While Bluffton prefers that families subscribe to one of the two payment plans listed above, we recognize that some family income patterns may warrant an alternate arrangement. We can usually accommodate such arrangements if first approved by the business office. Please call the business office if you wish to discuss another option.

The business office issues bills prior to each upcoming semester. Payments in advance are appreciated. When submitting payment, be sure to identify the student for whom payment is made and indicate that the payment is for the student's tuition account.

Payment toward your student's account may be paid with check, cash and credit card. If you have selected the Monthly Payment Plan option, your payments can be automatically deducted from your checking or savings account by authorizing an ACH (Automated Clearing House) charge from your account. Please contact the business office cashier by e-mailing with your request for an "ACH Authorization" form. A 3 percent convenience fee applies to credit card transactions for payment of tuition, room & board and fees on student accounts..

The business office sends each student a monthly statement of unpaid bills. In order for statements to be sent to parents or to another address, the waiver with signature must be completed (see Payment Information Form). The Federal Privacy Act of 1974 prohibits the release of information on a student's account to anyone other than that student without written permission. This authorization form (FERPA) is available on




Bluffton expects that all students will follow one of the payment plans described above. We treat unpaid accounts as follows:

A. Bluffton will add interest at the rate of one percent per month to accounts not current on an approved payment plan. That represents an annual interest charge of 12 percent. The interest is charged on the entire unpaid balance or, for students on payment plans, the larger of the delinquent amount or the unpaid balance.

B. Students with unpaid accounts are not allowed to enroll in a subsequent semester. All accounts past due must be paid in full before a student enrolls in summer school or in any other registration period.

C. Bluffton will not issue transcripts, diplomas, teaching certificates or records of any kind for students having past-due accounts. Additionally, student paychecks from campus jobs will be held for students with past-due accounts.

Basic fees:

  Yearly billing Semester billing
Tuition (12-17 hours/semester) $33,952 $16,976
Technology fee 550 275
Room * 5,586 2,793
Board (15 meal plan **) 5,760 2,880
Room damage deposit (new students only 100  
Total $45,948 $22,924
  • Charge per semester hour if less than 12 hours: $1,415 per semester hour
  • Charge per semester hour over 17 up to and including 20 hours: $999 per semester hour
  • Charge per semester hour over 20 hours: $1,415 per semester hour

Meal plans
Residential students are initially billed for the Premier 15-meal plan. Each meal plan includes "Beaver Bucks," dollars that can be used to purchase food items in the snack bar or additional meals in The Commons. Residential students are required to choose one of three meal plans: Full Value 20 plus meal plan, Premier 15 Plus meal plan or Basic 10 Plus meal plan. First-year students must select between the 20 meal plan or the 15 meal plan their first semester, and have the option of selecting the 10 meal plan beginning their second semester. Commuter and apartment meal plans are also available.

** Meal plan per semester 
20 meal plan $2,999
15 meal plan $2,880
10 meal plan $2,764
Apartment 70 block $1,089
Commuter 5 meal plan $1,089

>>> more information about meal plans 

Additional special fees:

* Rooming in Neufeld or Ramseyer, per semester $100
Super single, per semester $750
Riley Court Apartment with 70 Block Meal Plan, per semester $5,143
Student teaching $500
Private music lessons, per credit hour, in addition to tuition $185
Accompaniment fee, per credit hour
in addition to tuition and private lessons fee
Audit, per course
There may be additional fees for auditors in courses using special supplies or equipment
Becoming a Scholar Fee (non-refundable after first day of class) $115
Vehicle registration, per semester $25
Credit by exam $75
Transcripts, per copy $7.50 electronic/
$10 mailed
Returned payment fee (non-sufficient funds) $15


The following statements are provided as required by federal regulations.

Payments and disbursements of financial aid sometimes create credit balances on student accounts. Federal regulations stipulate that a credit balance can only be kept on the account for future charges upon written authorization from the student or the student's parent. Bluffton University does not pay interest to students/parents on student accounts that have credit balances.

In addition, if a student/parent wishes to use Title IV funds (Federal Pell/SEOG/Direct Loan and or Parent Plus) to cover any institutional charges above tuition and fees, room and board, (i.e.,  vehicle registration, etc.) the student/parent must sign an authorization statement each year provided by the business office. The student/parent is not required to sign the authorization statement, but if one is signed, it may be rescinded at any time. See Payment Information Form to sign the authorization to use Title IV funds for items other than tuition and fees, room and board.

Finally, federal regulations require that "a student or student's parents be notified of the amount of Title IV, HEA (Higher Education Act) program funds the student can expect to receive, and how and when those funds will be paid." Much of this information is outlined in the billing and refund information, 2020-21 packet. Specific reference to billing and cash management is also outlined in materials sent from the financial aid office, specifically the award letter, the policies brochure and the loan authorization form. Additional copies are available upon request from the financial aid office.

Students who withdraw from Bluffton University and follow the approved withdrawal procedures (see University Catalog) will receive refunds for instructional fees, room, and board according to the following schedule:

  • Up to and including the first day of classes in the semester 100% refund
  • From 2nd day to 10% period of time in the semester 90% refund
  • After 10% and up to 20% period of time in the semester 80% refund
  • After 20% and up to 30% period of time in the semester 70% refund
  • After 30% and up to 40% period of time in the semester 60% refund
  • After 40% and up to 50% period of time in the semester 50% refund
  • After 50% and up to 60% period of time in the semester 40% refund
  • After 60% period of time in the semester No refund

Students who withdraw before the 60% period in time will have a percentage of their aid (including federal Title IV aid) returned to the aid program by the school and possibly by the student. The amount of federal aid (other than work study) to be returned is equal to the total federal aid that was disbursed for the term multiplied by the percentage of the term not attended.

If a refund amount is owed to the student, but the student has outstanding institutional charges, or if the student owes a repayment of a cash disbursement for non-institutional costs, the university will automatically apply the refund amount to those charges or repayment. Bluffton will also notify the student in writing if either situation has occurred.

Students who are Title IV (federal aid) recipients will have the return of those funds and repayments calculated and distributed as prescribed by federal law and regulation. These distribution schedules are available to all prospective and currently enrolled students by contacting the business office or the office of financial aid.

The information above is for the 2020-21 academic year and is subject to change for subsequent years

Questions about billing and payment plans should be directed to the business office  at 419-358-3312. Questions about financial aid should be directed to the financial aid office at 419-358-3266.