When students enroll in your school, you require them to pay their tuition or other fees; however, as soon as students leave or drop out of your school, you don’t receive the fees they owe. There is a solution to this problem: online payments. By allowing your students to make their tuition payments from home through an e-payment system, you will not only save money and time by avoiding processing costs associated with check or credit card payments, but you will also ensure that your students and their parents are paying their tuition on time.
The Benefits For Schools To Transition to Online Payments
There are many benefits when schools make the change to online school payments. Let’s look at five of the many great benefits of using an online payment system.
#1: Increases Enrollment Rates
When parents can make online payments for their children’s tuition, they will be more likely to enroll their children at your school. If you accept credit cards or electronic checks, parents will feel safer about sending their kids to your school knowing that the money they pay is on its way and not stuck in a drawer somewhere.
#2: Saves Money By Reducing Check Processing Costs
Accepting check payments for tuition creates unnecessary costs and fees associated with the processing of those checks and credit cards. Every time your school receives a check, the check processing company creates a fee for depositing that payment. Add in an extra fee for credit card payments, and your school is paying unnecessary costs every time your students make payments to you.
#3: Saves Time By Eliminating the Collection Process
When students enroll in your school, you require them to make their tuition payments immediately; however, when they leave or drop out of your school, you don’t receive the fees they owe. You can save yourself time and frustration by accepting online payments. If your school accepts credit cards or electronic checks, your students can make their payments from home. Your school won’t have to wait for a check to come through the mail before you know you are getting paid, and there is no need to call or email students reminding them that their tuition fees are due because you will receive automatic reminders.
#4: Keeps Student Data Safe
When you collect credit card information from your students, you can be rest assured that their data is safe and secure. You won’t have to worry about identity theft or stolen credit cards because the payment processing company will store your student’s financial information in a protected database.
#5: Saves Time By Reducing Unpaid Tuition Withdrawals
Lastly, your students don’t have to wait until the day before school starts to pay their tuition. By using an online payment system, students can make their payments whenever they are able to get to a computer. This will help avoid late fee payments for unpaid withdrawals at the beginning of each school year.
How To Implement an Online Payment System
Now, it is time to go over the steps on how to implement an online payment system. Making online payments for school has never been easier.
Step 1: Decide What System You Would Like to Use
There are many different online payment processing systems available, so it is important to know what you want in an online payment system. Do you want a basic process with only credit card payments or will you accept electronic checks as well? How do your students pay their tuition now? Will they have access to a computer? The answers to these questions will help you determine which online payment system is best for your school.
Step 2: Select an Online Payment Processor
Once you have decided what features are important to your school, it’s time to start shopping around for an online payment processing company. At first glance, this may feel overwhelming because there are so many companies to choose from. Keep in mind that there are only a handful of payment processors out there, and the majority of them offer very similar services for a reasonable price.
Step 3: Set Up Your Online Payment Options
Most online payment processors have a simple process for setting up your school’s payment system. You will create an account with one of the companies and enter all of the information required to set up a secure system. Once you have completed this initial setup, it is time to start implementing your online payment system.
Step 4: Promote Your Online Payment Options
You cannot expect students to sign up for your online payment system if you do not let them know that it exists. During registration, inform your students about the ease of using an online payment system and provide instructions on how they can enroll. A few weeks before school starts, you should send a reminder email to your students notifying them of the online payment options available. If your enrollment is already closed, you will have to wait until the next school year in order for new students to join.
Step 5: Evaluate Your Success Rate
Once you have set up your online payment system and let everyone know that it exists, it is time to see just how many students are signing up. A good online payment system will have anywhere between 10-25% of its users enroll in the program within the first month. You can analyze your enrollment numbers and determine if you would benefit by offering more payment options or changing the process in order for more students to enroll.
If your school does not have an online payment system in place, it is time to start looking into the many benefits that one can provide. By using these steps, you can begin implementing an online payment system at your school.
Ensuring Your School Payments Are Secure
One very important aspect to keep in mind is payment security. Just because you provide an online payment option does not mean that your school’s website is secure. You need to make sure that all of the information sent during a transaction is encrypted so no one can decipher it. This process is known as SSL, and any online payment processor worth using will offer this technology. SSL will encrypt all of the information that is sent to and from your school’s website so you do not have to worry about any sensitive information being compromised.
By implementing an online payment system for your school, you will streamline the payment process while providing a secure environment. All of this makes it easier for students to pay for their tuition and puts less work on the school’s books office. More students and parents will pay their tuition on time and at the easiest rate possible. Keep these tips in mind when shopping for a payment provider and you will start to see your enrollment numbers going up.
SchoolCues is an all-in-one school management system for small schools with limited budgets and resources. Our solutions include admissions and enrollment, online payments, student information system, gradebook, communications, parent engagement, donations and fundraising, alumni management and more. Schedule a demo with us today.