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Nelnet Tuition Payment Plans improve student experience at four University of Colorado campuses

More payment options and powerful PeopleSoft integration improve affordability and streamline business office functions
University Business, December 2016
Nelnet Tuition Payment Plans improve student experience at four University of Colorado campuses
Nelnet Tuition Payment Plans improve student experience at four University of Colorado campuses

In an effort to best serve a population of over 60,000 students on four campuses, business office leaders across the University of Colorado system (CU) recently decided to evaluate their options to determine if a more efficient payment plan solution existed. They needed a program that could meet the diverse needs of individual students, who differed in their payment preferences and needs.

With the university’s previous extended payment system it was sometimes difficult to find the online payment page on each campus’ student portal, and there was no way to modify the payment page to match each campus’ brand.

Additionally, “Some students were not even aware that we had tuition payment plans available,” says John Hanna, Student Financials Application Manager.

The newly selected solution would have to be cost-effective, improve the student sign-up experience and increase enrollment in tuition payment plans. The new approach would also need to integrate easily into existing systems. With these guidelines in mind, CU’s team, after due diligence, selected Nelnet’s Actively Managed Tuition Payment Plans.

“We chose Nelnet because we knew we could rely on them to deliver a user-friendly and reliable payment plan solution for all campuses,” says Kelly Fox, Senior Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Nelnet Tuition Payment Plans are “actively managed,” which means the Nelnet team takes responsibility for promotion of the plans to students and payers, as well as major aspects of account administration and management. This frees CU business offices to focus their efforts on students. The system allows for multiple payment options that allow students to spread out the cost of tuition and more easily meet payment deadlines.

“Nelnet technology gives us a reliable, flexible payment plan solution with dedicated, tier-one customer support,” says Hanna. “The level of integration and efficiency we’ve achieved has made all of us breathe easier.”

To get the system set up efficiently, a focused group of team members from Nelnet worked with Hanna and his staff on implementation. Nelnet payment plans have been implemented on all four campuses in the CU system.

“More students are seeing and choosing plans that fit their circumstances,” says Hanna. “There is zero learning curve, and the plans provide the ultimate in convenience for students and their authorized payers.”

Although the finance team initially viewed Nelnet’s customer service as a secondary benefit, the staff almost immediately began to see the real advantages of leaving the legwork to Nelnet.

“Students are calling the Nelnet team with any questions they have and it’s cutting down on calls to university staff,” says Hanna.

Staff time is also saved through the available real-time agreement interface, which has helped the CU business office team process account changes more efficiently. The integration with PeopleSoft also makes it possible to automatically reconcile end-of-day posting without any manual intervention. Nelnet assists in establishing different processing rules to fit the diverse needs of each CU campus and its students.

Overall, the greatest benefits have proved to be increased predictability of payments and increasing student participation. This could eventually lead to substantial net gains in revenue and an improved positive experience for payers throughout their career at CU, says Hanna.

This piece was produced for Nelnet Business Solutions by University Business. For more information on Nelnet’s Actively Managed Payment Plans, visit www.campuscommerce.com

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