How to Automate Student Tuition Fee Collection

School program directors can dramatically improve their business’s bottom line, not to mention their time management, by automating parts of the tuition fee collection process.

Implementing electronic invoices and automated email reminders will prevent late payments, make your customers happier, and free your team up to focus on more cognitively demanding and rewarding work.

Keep reading to learn the top five ways to automate your school’s student tuition fee collection process, regardless of your technical know-how.

Switch to Using Electronic Invoices

If you haven’t already, switching from paper-based invoicing to electronic invoicing is the first step you should take in automating your collection process, as it results in incredible cost savings.

Source: Helios Ed

Going electronic means that your invoices are sent, processed, and stored electronically.

Because of this, the time from the conception of the invoice to having the money in your business bank account is significantly reduced.

Plus, customers will appreciate how convenient it is to pay you for your services.

Most electronic invoicing tools provide an intuitive invoice editor that allows you to easily create invoices and customize them to reflect your brand and your data needs.

For example, in PayPal’s invoice creator, it takes about 10 seconds to create and send an invoice packed with all the information your customers need in order to pay you:

Source: PayPal

Online recurring billing software, like Regpack, also allows you to set up automated recurring invoices, so that, at a certain time each month or year, your invoices will be automatically created and sent out to your students.

After the initial setup, you don’t even have to lift a finger to get paid. You can even create customized payment plans for each specific student, based on your agreement with them:

Source: Regpack

Switching to e-invoicing also saves you from digging through paperwork to find the documents you need.

Everything is automatically stored online in a searchable, filterable database.

Plus, tools like Regpack enable you to analyze that data to draw insights about your payment process that can help you improve it.

With all these benefits, automating your invoice creation, sending, processing, and tracking with e-invoicing software is mission-critical for school program directors.

Offer a Range of Payment Methods

By offering a range of cashless payment methods, like a credit card, ACH transfer, and e-wallet, your students will be able to pay for your services online so that you collect payments automatically.

No one has to wait around at the front desk for students, or open any mail, or count and organize any cash.

Payment, as well as the processing and organization of that payment, all happens behind the scenes, while your staff works away on other projects.

Currently, these are the most popular online payment methods in North America, and therefore the ones you should most consider offering to your students:

Source: Oberlo

As you look for an online payment software solution for automation, make sure that the tool offers the payment methods you want to accept.

On another note, an added benefit of offering a wide range of payments is that you’re more likely to give every student their preferred method.

And when students are able to pay in the way they want, they’re less likely to procrastinate, which results in fewer late payments for your business to deal with.

Send Automatic Tuition Fee Reminders

It’s about as easy for you to forget to send out a tuition fee reminder as it is for a student to forget to make a payment.

Delegate the task to an online payment software that allows you to set up automated emails or text reminders that go out a certain number of days before an invoice is due.

You could even configure the system to send out one email two days before the due date and another on the day.

And if you’re using communications software with trigger-based logic, you can make it so that all of your students who don’t pay on time receive an email reminder the day after the due date.

Here’s an example of Regpack’s condition-based email automation:

Source: Regpack

Many of these tools also have auto-populating templates that fill with all the correct information, like the recipient’s name and total due, so the experience is personalized even though it’s automatic.

For example, here’s a template for a late email notice that goes out 2 days after the invoice is due, provided that the customer hasn’t paid:

Source: Hiveage

Note how the template contains fields like {invoice-number}. Upon sending, those will fill in the correct details, pulling them from your software’s database.

In sum, using software to automate your payment email reminders is an essential step to tuition collection automation.

Take Advantage of Recurring Billing Options

Recurring billing enables you to automatically draw funds from consenting customers’ bank accounts at regular intervals, such as the 1st of every month.

Here’s a breakdown of how recurring billing works:

​​

Source: Zoho

Giving customers the option to pay with recurring billing is a great way to streamline the tuition collection process and save a lot of time.

After setting up recurring billing, the funds will be automatically collected, without the need for your intervention, as long as a card doesn’t cancel.

But you can even guard against that by using payment software with automatic retries, which will retry the card a few days after the payment failure.

Additionally, recurring billing eliminates the chances that a customer will pay late, or forget to make a payment, so your business will get its tuition payments at a faster rate than beforehand.

Here are some other benefits of using recurring billing to collect tuition:

Less Effort The software will handle the payment process for you, so you can focus on higher-level tasks.
Fraud Protection Payment gateways, which are integrated within recurring billing software, use security best practices that protect against fraud, like tokenization or fraud detection technology.
Better Customer Relationships Students will appreciate how payments happen automatically without bothering them.

Schools often use the recurring billing model by allowing their students to pay their tuition in installments based on the student’s personalized payment plan.

For example, one student might pay half of their tuition upfront and then pay the remaining half in monthly installments over the course of the program.

Offering students the ability to create their own recurring billing schedule or pick from a list of options are excellent ways to build goodwill and ensure prompt payments.

Source: Regpack

It not only makes paying more convenient for them but also gives them a feeling of control in your relationship, which improves the customer experience.

This can really help you stand out from other schools that might be more strict in regard to their payment plans, forcing students into a bind.

Choose the Right Online Payment Software

A quality online payment software will facilitate the many automations you want to set up in your tuition fee collection process, from e-invoicing and recurring billing to automatic payment reminders and online payment forms.

When evaluating tools, look for one that offers the following payment collection features:

Source: Regpack

You’ll also want one with email communication features, as these will allow you to create automated payment reminders.

When choosing an online payment software, it’s also a good idea to find one that’s easy to use, even for a non-techie.

Setting up the automations should be intuitive, and the software itself should be something your colleagues look forward to using because it makes their jobs easier.

It should also be designed with school administrators and auxiliary program directors in mind —like Regpack is:

Source: G2

The nice thing about using a tool like Regpack that’s designed for schools is that you’ll get features that are specific to your most pressing needs.

For example, users love how Regpack also provides features that help them manage their student registration process, like the easy-to-use online registration form builder:

Source: Regpack

Using its drag-and-drop editor, you can create forms and put them on your website or send them to students, thereby automating a lot of the registration process for your classes and programs.

The forms are also extremely customizable, allowing you to capture the data you need to provide the best experience for your students.

Furthermore, the best tools will also offer robust reporting functionality that enables you to run custom reports to gain insight into the effectiveness of various parts of your tuition fee collection process.

In sum, when you have a school-focused online payment software supporting your team, automating the tuition fee collection process becomes a breeze.

Conclusion

School program directors can automate their student tuition fee collection process by switching to e-invoices, offering multiple online payment options, setting up automatic reminders, using recurring billing, and finding the right online payment software.

To learn some other ways of improving your tuition fee collection process besides automation, read our article on the best practices for collecting tuition payments on time.

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