When it comes to collecting tuition, it usually doesn't pay to have your university's payment solution on autopilot.
There are many software tools available for scheduling and processing tuition payments. But what happens if a student adds a class unexpectedly, or is assessed additional or unexpected fees? Many software solutions can't adjust on the fly and school officials are the ones who end up spending extra time untangling the mess.
Nelnet tuition payment plans are different because they're actively managed. Students can call into the Nelnet managed call center if they have questions, need to update their address, or want to make a change in their method of payment switching from a Visa credit card to mom's MasterCard, for example.
If a student misses a payment, Nelnet immediately reaches out to both the school and the person responsible for paying the student's tuition. It could be there was a death in the family, or a parent lost a job. Nelnet's customer service representatives can connect the family with the right university contact to work out alternate payment arrangements when necessary. Software solutions can't provide that.
In instances where Nelnet plans are integrated with a school's enterprise resource planning system (ERP), tuition payment information can be updated in real-time. Once a student logs into the university portal to register for classes and clicks on a link to enroll in a payment plan, the school has immediate access to that information. When the term begins, the student is reminded that he or she has an automatic payment scheduled. If payments have to be increased after the enrollment period, the system automatically adjusts the monthly amount remaining for the semester and notifies the payer of the revised payment.
For schools, Nelnet can provide more certainty about revenue streams and cash flow.
"We have a number of institutions that will tell you that, with this program, they are able to collect in excess of 97 percent (of tuition) in the current term," said Tanya Thorsen, senior vice president at Nelnet Business Solutions. "The collection success is significant."
Last year, Nelnet helped Butte-Glenn Community College in Oroville, Calif., with a new registration policy that, in most cases, required students to prepay tuition or lock in payment terms before classes began.
"Nelnet's payment plans were a big part of this strategy and provided an easy way for students to activate a payment plan," said Clinton Slaughter, director of admissions and records for the school. "Nelnet's payment plans helped the college ensure the successful implementation of our new policy."
Nelnet also works with schools to increase participation in tuition payment plans. For every school, the company designs marketing materials customized with the school logo and colors, payment due dates and a step-by-step guide to plan enrollment options.
The cost of the program for students is small, and spreading out payments provides better affordability for students and their parents. Additionally, automatic tuition payments give schools better peace of mind about finances.
"The goal is to get the balance to zero in the current semester so that a student can return next term unencumbered by prior debt," Thorsen said.
To learn more about Nelnet's payment plans, visit www.campuscommerce.com and click on Actively Managed Tuition Payment Plans in the left menu