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Paying out of pocket for clean clothes

by Juliana Walter

As of 2017, residence halls at The University of Tampa have had laundry facilities which requires their on-campus students to pay with their own credit cards for washers and dryers.Some on-campus students feel that they should not have to pay with their own credit cards for basic laundry facilities, on top of room and board cost

Students complain about how each machine charges $1.25 directly to the student’s personal card.  While other colleges across the country have other systems for laundry facility payment that do not require personal payment cards UT has “Spartan Dollars”, laundry cards with a set amount, or built in laundry cost to the room and board tuition.  Still, many students believe there should be another system in place. 

UT sophomore, Stephanie McKeever, has already had faulty experiences with the systems in place. McKeever recalled the time she was charged multiple times due to the machine’s error without even doing one load. 

“I was charged over seven times onto my personal card and it was a long process to call and get refunded by the company,” said McKeever.  She adds that there should be a different system in place, like payments through spartan dollars, because she does not trust the current system that charges directly to her credit card. 

Previously, students at UT had to pay through their own laundry cards, which allowed students to put a set amount of money on the card through Spartan Web. Head of business services at UT, Cynthia Ezell, said that the credit card system was put in place because the machine’s company had changed its technology.

“It would have taken years to change out all the old technology machines. This would have required us to issue two different laundry cards. This was not an efficient system to have,” said Ezell. Yet many students still found the new system to be confusing and unfair to their bank accounts.

“Yes, there were many [complaints],” said Ezell. But after many mishaps and complaints, the university is upgrading the system to have less errors. Ezell also said that many of the issues were due to student error with the card machines. To resolve this issue, ResLife has partnered with the laundry services to educate on-campus students on how to properly use the laundry facilities. Still, students feel that their own cards should not have to be used for doing simple laundry.

Hailey Papp, senior dance major at UT, has experienced both having to pay with her own credit card and the days when UT had a laundry cards. “It was nice not having to see the money coming out of my personal account,” said Papp. She felt that paying with the laundry cards did make students have to worry about how much was left on their cards, but out of both systems, Papp preferred the laundry card. Regardless, both of these solutions bring concerns to on-campus students.

Last year, towards the end of the spring semester, the laundry facilities were free for a two week period. Although many dorms went into chaos as students went wild with the power of free laundry, Papp said, “Honestly Palm was chill when the laundry was free but if laundry was free all the time then the mad rush to the machines wouldn’t be an issue in other dorms.” 

Now that Papp lives off campus with free laundry, she has seen even just a little bit more in her bank account because she does not have to swipe her personal card every time she needs a clean shirt. Other students, like Papp, believe that the laundry facilities should have free access, by including laundry into the cost of room and board. 

While UT continues to find solutions for the faulty laundry machines and find more efficient paying systems, students must continue to pay with their own credit cards. Ezell encourages students to download the CSC app to report machine issues. “This way, a short description of the problem goes directly to the service department so they can log and work on the problem much quicker,” said Ezell. 

Juliana Walter can be reached at juliana.walter@spartans.ut.edu

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