Digitizing payments for higher education is essential as online payments are pervasive. Digital payments penetration reached 89% last year. What’s more, the number of people who report using at least two types of digital payments has grown from 51% in 2021 to 62% in 2022.
Digital payments offer a myriad of benefits to all parties, and colleges and universities are using payments modernization to their advantage. In fact, seamless digital payment options can actually serve as a way to attract and retain students.
Avoiding the Payments Vacuum
In many ways, this digital payments transformation was pushed forward by the pandemic, as many schools had to rapidly adapt classes, teaching methods, and payments to meet new needs and requirements.
Growing pains occurred as many institutions realized payments operations were very siloed across campuses and departments – each with its own set of technology providers, systems, and processes.
This decentralized aspect of payments makes it difficult to standardize processes, which has impacts across the board. It makes compliance with things like PCI DSS a headache and can lead to miscommunications and human error.
Worst case, it makes schools vulnerable to breaches and fraud.
Digitizing Payments for Flexibility
Digitizing payments for higher education can streamline internal processes, but it does more. Modernized payments can ease the strain that students and their families face when it comes to paying for school. Flexible payment options streamline (and financial aid) payments and enhance the student experience.
This is especially important for international students, who are looking for institutions that offer flexible payment options that allow them to easily transfer funds and pay in installments.
Also, consider that younger generations are attracted to mobile payments due to their convenience and security. According to the Student Financial Experience Report 2022, 80% reported they use mobile banking to transfer money or pay bills. And a quarter (25%) of students report using digital wallets like Apple Wallet – up 56% year over year.
Automated payments should also be a consideration when digitizing payments for higher education; they can bolster a school’s ability to collect revenue. Historically, the bursar’s office relies on manual processes to follow up on and collect late payments. These ad-hoc workflows can be detrimental to operations and make it costly and complex to collect payments. Centralizing payments makes it easier for all departments, especially treasurers and bursars, to garner insights and make accurate forecasts.
Ideally, schools can tap software and systems that integrate payments with student data systems to enable better, more efficient (and real-time) workflows and automation. This simplifies operations and allows the institution to offer a more seamless experience for students.
Digitizing Payments for Higher Education: Worth It
Investing in digital transformation and enabling more diversified payment options can pay off big for schools. Yes, it requires time and effort, but the result is more than worth it.
For more information about how Arrow Payments can help you with digitizing payments for higher education and optimizing payments operations, reach out for a free consultation today.