October 4, 2021
Not every family can afford to pay private school tuition costs in a lump sum. As such, your private K-12 school may want to offer payment plan options to families. When families can choose to pay tuition in installments, you make them happier and your institution more successful. With payment plans, families can stay within budget and not have to worry about whether they can cover tuition, and your school’s application and retention rates may improve.
When you implement a tuition payment system, you can ensure the process of billing and payment is automated and seamless so your staff won’t have to worry about chasing down every payment. This guide to school tuition payment systems will help you determine the advantages of offering a variety of options and what those options are.
Different Payment Options
Too many families don’t apply to private schools because they assume they won’t be able to afford the tuition. If a child is gifted, wants some of the special things your school has to offer, or is unhappy in public school, your private school can be a great option for them. Money shouldn’t stop families from enrolling their children in a school that can offer the best opportunities.
Unfortunately, many families can be turned away from applying if they review the tuition and fees and become concerned that the cost is too high. To help mitigate this, you can offer payment options that assure families attending your institution is affordable. The following are some payment options you may want to offer families:
- Check: One option for payment is to allow families to write a check. Some families can afford to pay for their child’s private school tuition in a lump sum before each semester.
- Installments: For many parents, the best option is to make smaller payments in installments. Families are more likely to have the cash flow for monthly payments rather than large lump-sum payments.
- Financial aid: Every family can benefit from receiving financial aid, no matter the amount of their income or assets. Families who have a lower income may believe they cannot afford to pay for private school tuition, so offering financial aid may be the difference between whether a family decides to apply for admission or not. Financial aid can ensure you attract a more diverse student population and make a private school education available to a greater variety of students.
Benefits of Offering Different Tuition Payment Plans
Offering various payment plan options can improve families’ and student experiences, and you can also increase the retention and application rates at your school. Overall, the advantages of providing families with multiple ways to pay include:
- Create a unique selling point: Your institution is unique for countless reasons. Make one of those reasons payment flexibility. You’ll become particularly attractive to families in the searching phase as they determine which private schools to apply to.
- Demonstrate how you prioritize families and education: As a private school, you prioritize students and their families. Show you want students to gain educational opportunities by making them financially accessible.
- Gain a diverse student population: When your student body represents a range of financial backgrounds, you can better reflect your community. Your school can then foster a sense of diversity and inclusion, instilling your students with values of empathy and acceptance.
- Increase application rates: With those and other benefits, you become more attractive to applicants. Expand your payment plans, and you could see a rise in application and retention rates as your school becomes financially available to more families.
Why You Need a School Payment System
Your school deserves a tuition payment system that increases efficiency and improves the family experience. Offering different payment methods can come with challenges, but the software will help you tackle those obstacles and offer other benefits.
Challenges You Can Overcome With Payment Systems for Schools
Your K-12 school likely faces many of the challenges that could be mitigated with a school tuition payment system, like:
- Manual email reminders: Many families sign up to pay tuition in multiple installments, and sending email reminders manually to families regarding due or past due amounts can lead to many lost hours each month.
- Lack of control and flexibility: Your school has unique financial goals, and without the control and flexibility you get from a payment system, you could be putting your financial stability and goals at risk.
- Manual adjustments: Factors like fees and financial aid grants may affect how much tuition a family owes. As such, your staff can spend a lot of time making manual adjustments to tuition amounts without a system that automates this process for you.
- High expectations from families: Families want the best for their children, and that can come with high expectations when it comes to service. If families find the tuition payment process confusing, difficult, or time-consuming, this can negatively impact your retention and yield.
- Patchworked administrative software solutions: Many private schools have several different administrative software solutions that serve multiple departments. When you need to move data between systems, data errors and delays are more likely, especially during admission and enrollment season and tight deadlines.
Benefits of Implementing a Tuition Payment System
If you implement a tuition payment system into your school, you can offer different payment plan options and enjoy the following advantages:
- Save time: Avoid wasting your staff’s time in the office by implementing a system that automates and customizes invoices and emails for payment reminders. Data from students, deposits, financial aid awards, and tuition amounts are automatically moved from enrollment to tuition, so your staff doesn’t have to worry about this process or moving data manually during the admission and enrollment season.
- Improve financial stability: You can ensure your school’s financial stability over the long term by offering payment options and plans that can meet families where they are.
- Meet tight deadlines: With a tuition payment system, your school can meet tight admission and enrollment deadlines. By using a single integrated enrollment suite for your entire enrollment experience, you can also avoid time-consuming data transfers.
- Increase retention and yield: When families are using a seamless software that’s easy to navigate at every step, from inquiry to payment, they’ll be happier and more likely to stick around. Barriers will be reduced for families, as they won’t be required to set up another account and input the information you have in your system already. And if they can easily see the various payment plan options available, families may be even more likely to apply to and stay with your institution.
- Exceed families’ expectations: The options you offer families should meet them where they’re at. Offer several flexible payment options that ensure your school’s financial stability in the long term, make your private school more affordable and support a diverse student body. With school tuition software, you can customize the terms of tuition agreements based on your families’ needs and your school’s requirements.
- Reduce manual calculations and data entry: When you have a solution that applies fees and tuition credits to family billing accounts automatically, you reduce the need for manual tuition calculations and data entry. With tuition software, you can bill any time for tuition, admission application fees, incidentals, or deposits while at the same time accommodating every type of payment plan and option.
- Create a seamless experience: The staff in your business office completes various tasks, including processing several forms of payment, managing invoices for incidentals and tuition, reconciling your books, and chasing payments. With a school payment system, your school will have a single connected system to reduce errors, automate workflow and support financial stability for your school.
Our Payment System for Schools
While there are advantages to offering various payment plans to families, you’ll need a way to efficiently manage them. That’s where school tuition payment systems from Ravenna can streamline your institution’s operations.
Several types of schools can use tuition and billing software from Ravenna, including large independent schools, boarding schools, day schools, Montessori schools, religious schools, and Catholic schools included. Our software offers several features that improve the operations of your school and the family experience.
Various Points of Integration
Our tuition software integrates with our admission software, our enrollment software, financial aid integration, and general ledger export. With integration, there is no need to import or export new family data during the busy season of admission and enrollment. It makes the process easier for students and parents who want to navigate tuition amounts and financial aid awards.
Your staff can push data from enrollment contracts to the billing accounts without needing to involve IT, and staff won’t have to worry about making errors or negatively affecting the data from other departments. With SSS, data flow through admission and enrollment to tuition. This allows financial aid awards to be reflected in billing accounts and enrollment contracts, eliminating manual data entry and saving time.
With our general ledger export, you can also integrate our premier tools with your accounting system. You can access our tools anytime, anywhere and from any browser. Files can be accessed with a simple click of a button.
With built-in reporting, your staff will have assistance with day-to-day tasks like monitoring and reviewing accounts and receivables. You can use our tuition and billing software as a subsidiary ledger. Your staff can easily track the amount that has been billed throughout the school year, how many credits have been awarded, how much financial aid has been awarded, and how much your school has received in payments to date.
You can know how your school is performing at any moment by utilizing Ravenna’s data dashboard. Each time you log in, you can view real-time reports and take action as necessary.
Seamless Account Creation and Login
When you choose our software for your school, families can sign contracts, pay a deposit and claim billing accounts from emails with secure links. From one email, families can sign their enrollment or re-enrollment contract. From another email, families can pay a deposit and view a deposit invoice. From a third email, families can confirm their email address, create a password, view an itemized bill, and select one of the payment plan options.
Families will appreciate having a streamlined experience from inquiry to initial tuition deposit, and they can quickly get through the process and meet deadlines without needing to stop and create a new account or password. Families also won’t need to create an additional account and again provide the information your school already has.
Similarly, you can also make signing up for events a seamless step in the application process. Accept payments for events, restrict event registration based on application status, limit attendees by gender and grade and easily create time slots for interviews.
Flexible Pricing Model and Payment Plans
You can develop a tuition payment model that meets your enrollment goals or mission. We charge schools a single annual fee, so you can decide what you want to charge families for late fees and payment plans. You also have the option of charging families multiple late fees. Your school can incentivize families to select a payment plan that you would like them to choose.
Families of lower means will have a lighter burden when they can select a more affordable or flexible plan. You can also choose to waive late fees to lessen the burden even further.
Fees and Tuition Credits Applied to Billing Accounts
At Ravenna, our school tuition and billing software simplifies billing for both your staff and families. With our tuition and billing software for private schools, your families can see itemized tuition bills that list fees and credits. Each family can also choose which payment plan works best for them based on the final amount owed. This means you won’t have to worry about the accuracy of your school’s billing accounts.
Automated and Customized Invoice Reminders and Emails
With our software, you can automatically send invoice reminders to all families that have a payment due soon. You can also customize an additional reminder email that will be sent at a timing of your choosing. This feature will save your staff time that would’ve otherwise been spent on creating and sending emails and invoice reminders manually. You are in control of the language you’ll use when communicating with families through these methods.
By customizing and automating emails and invoice reminders, you can ensure that every family is making payments on time and your K-12 school is receiving tuition dollars at the expected times.
Request a Demo From Ravenna Solutions
At Ravenna Solutions, we offer a full suite of enrollment software for private and independent K-12 schools. Our end-to-end solution for school offices includes everything from applications to enrollment to reporting. Our software solutions can help simplify your school administrative office. With our CRM solutions, your school can benefit from greater:
- Accessibility: With Ravenna, your school could see 10% to 25% more applications within your first year. This is because our solutions make the admission process simpler for families.
- Efficiency: Within your first year of implementing our enrollment software from Ravenna, you can save up to 500 hours on manual tasks by replacing them with automated processes. No matter the type or size of your school, you can save on costs and time.
- Quality: Since you’ll be spending less time on manual tasks, you can dedicate more time to thoroughly reviewing and reading applications. You can better understand your applicants and make more informed admission decisions, like what payment plans to offer.
If you’ve been tackling tuition management by hand, say goodbye to this long, tedious process. Our great customer service team can offer you the software and features you need for a tuition management system. Contact us at Ravenna to learn more about our solutions for your school or request a demo today.