If you have ever had to pay tuition to a private K-12 school or university, you know what a hassle it can be to write and send paper checks, and move funds around from different accounts to cover them. Parents and students are always looking for ways to simplify daily tasks, and with the growth of electronic payment acceptance, paying school tuition at select institutions is now seamless.
With the rapidly increasing adoption of secure, convenient digital payments, it makes sense for parents to start paying tuition with credit and/or debit cards. In a 2015 survey, 47 percent of cardholders said that they would prefer to pay tuition by card.1 Already, almost 4,000 schools across the country accept Visa. Parents find that card payments can help them plan and track tuition more conveniently than other payment methods, and they can set up recurring payments that help them avoid late fees. Tuition payments on a card are simple and many can be processed immediately, so even those last-minute payments can be made on time and during non-business hours. For some consumers, paying tuition via credit or debit card means the ability to boost rewards points, cash back perks or other benefits that they are already receiving from their issuer. Parents should also keep in mind that a school’s payment service provider may charge a substantial fee for using a payment card for tuition, which will vary based on the tuition amount due and the service provider.
Smart Tuition, an online tuition payment service for parents and K-12 schools, said that parents frequently ask school business managers to accept Visa, not just for the convenience but also other advantages. “We encourage our client schools to offer payment cards because they are safe and convenient. They often help parents stay on track with monthly payments or bridge a gap when funds are tight. Visa has been a great partner in helping us build our payment card business,” said Marla Leung, Director of Communications at Smart Tuition.
Adding Visa has proven to be a great advantage not only for parents, but also for schools. Visa and Smart Tuition have worked together to shape a solution that allows many schools to save hundreds of thousands of dollars each year in processing fees. Schools that accept cards are able to significantly reduce their operational expenses. Digital payments eliminate paperwork and simplify refunds and reimbursements, making tracking and managing payment histories a breeze. Having comprehensive, instant payment reporting also allows school stakeholders to make better financial planning decisions.
Schools that accept cards may be able to see a huge uptick in timely payments, a reduction in insufficient funds transactions and an increase in customer satisfaction. Michigan State University reported that adding Visa increased their card transaction volume by 42 percent. “Total annual card payment volume grew from $34 million to $45 million. This fiscal year is already at $61 million and projected to reach $70 million. The card process is faster and more convenient than paper checks received in person or through U.S. mail,” said a spokesperson from the Michigan State University bursar’s office.
Adopting electronic or automatic payments for school tuition is a win-win: parents can enjoy the convenience of payment anytime and across funding sources, while schools can reduce the amount of time they spend managing their back-end processes.