Understanding the Delays at the Cashier’s Office


Rick Sinnett

To protect employees, offices are closed to the public.

Nothing is normal right now. That much is apparent when we try to work, shop and go to school online. A degree of delay is expected, but why are some students experiencing wait times up to a month for a return call?

When EvCC closed its campus in March, students had paid their tuition. The transition to the Summer quarter was fairly painless with students able to contact the Cashier’s Office to arrange payment plans, get receipts for tuition reimbursement and to see if their financial aid was credited. Most requests had a typical two business day turnaround, more complicated requests such as receipts or financial aid status could take a little longer.

But as the halcyon days of summer in lockdown waned and we turned off our gaming consoles and turned on our computers, something changed.

So, what happened?

Do you remember a time long ago, when you could stand less than three feet away from a person in an enclosed room and talk to each other? That’s the environment the Cashier’s Office is designed for, not a pandemic.

The wait time metrics were based on in-person visits from their number system, much like the Department of Motor Vehicles. This system was not designed for phone or email requests, so tracking wait times isn’t possible.

Jennie Brashear, Assistant Director of Finance, stated, “We had to quickly restructure how to best serve students. Cashiers modified the payment plan process to allow the first payment to be made over the phone with a cashier, causing cashier phone lines to be busier than normal.  It can sometimes take many calls back and forth between the Cashiers Office and the student until we’re able to connect with each other on the phone.”

She continued, “The phone voicemail encouraged students to send emails, therefore, we received more emails than normal as well.” 


In hard times, we look for reasons why something has happened, even with only half or none of the facts. This need for answers most likely birthed the rumor that the delays were caused by a reduction in cashier staff.

When asked about cashier staffing, Brashear clarifies, “Because of the systems involved with our work, cashiers need to come to campus to work in-person while wearing masks, using social distancing and taking other precautions.”

“Two part-time cashiers who assist us during peak times chose not to be on the schedule after the COVID-19 pandemic started, causing a reduction in the number of cashiers available to assist students. Also, the Cashier Manager retired July 1 (this was a planned retirement prior to COVID).  We have now hired the new Cashier Manager.”

Shelby Burke, Interim Associate VP of Finance reaffirms, “No positions were eliminated in the Cashiers Office.” 

Adapt and overcome.

To borrow from an old saying, criticizing an institution’s ability to function under circumstances completely out of the norm, is like criticizing a fish on its ability to climb a tree. But EvCC is climbing that

Gary Parks Memorial Student Union and John Terry Library & Media Center. (Rick Sinnett)

proverbial tree.

When asked how EvCC is filling the communication gap caused by the pandemic, Brashear explained, “Student emails and phone calls are being better organized, and students who need to make a payment over the phone are being tracked to ensure a cashier has reached out and students are followed up with again if needed. We are exploring using different systems entirely to track and follow up with every email and phone call. We are also seeking more part-time cashiers to help during peak times. Our new cashier manager is heading up this task.”

New captain in rough waters.

As mentioned by Brashear, there is a new cashier office manager taking the helm and helping to keep us on course, Leah Pearce. If you are having issues contacting a cashier, you can contact her directly at 425-388-9226 or email her at [email protected].  

Brashear states, “Hopefully with the improvements we have made and continue to make, we can serve students more quickly. We do appreciate students’ patience.”

For students who are worried about tuition reimbursement deadlines, EvCC will not leave you adrift. Brashear stated, “The Cashiers Office would work individually with the student depending on the situation. We would hope that working with the student and the reimburser, such as an employer, we could find resolution.”

The takeaway.

There is a delay in communication from the Cashier’s Office, but it’s not because of layoffs or because the school doesn’t want our money; it’s because we live in interesting times.