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Financial technology is evolving at lightning speed. Not only does this enable colleges and universities to simplify payments across campuses and departments, but it also allows for greater visibility. The key to harnessing emerging technology lies in having a custom payments strategy for higher ed. 

Colleges and universities must account for hundreds of variables when managing university finances and treasury functions, including payment processors, merchants, and servicers – to name a few. Given the complexity of payments operations in higher education, the best path forward is a custom payments strategy that approaches payments from a holistic standpoint. The result can be streamlined operations, improved accuracy and transparency, and, ultimately, increased revenue. 

Understanding the Complexity of University Payments

Managing university finances and treasury functions is a complex process. Institutions must account for an array of factors, from payment processors and merchants to servicers. Ensuring the smooth functioning of these operations requires a deep understanding of every cog in the machine, which can drain time and resources. 

Many universities consist of multiple campuses and departments – each with unique payment needs and operational processes. Between payment methods, accounting, reconciliation, PCI, and security, the ground to cover is substantial. Yet, identifying and implementing optimal solutions tailored to the specific needs of each department is key to a successful payment strategy.

Driving Improvements with a Custom Payments Strategy for Higher Ed

A well-executed custom payments strategy for higher ed is not a one-time implementation but an ongoing process. It typically involves four stages: audit, design, implementation, and maintenance.

The audit stage involves a comprehensive review of the current payment systems, identifying inefficiencies, bottlenecks, or potential areas for improvement. The design stage focuses on developing a custom strategy that addresses these identified issues while aligning with the university’s short- and long-term goals and each department’s unique needs.

Following this, the implementation stage brings this custom strategy to life, carefully integrating it within the existing infrastructure. Finally, the maintenance stage involves regular reviews and adjustments to ensure the strategy remains effective and up-to-date with the latest payment technologies.

Tapping Into a Single Source of Truth

Employing a custom payments strategy for higher ed is dependent upon data and insights. Beyond technology, payment methods, and compliance requirements, colleges and universities must also contend with disparate data sources across campuses and departments. A crucial step in simplifying an often complex landscape is the ability to access a single source of truth. 

Access to a single, comprehensive dashboard that provides an overview of payment system performance across the university is essential for stakeholders to have clear visibility into each transaction. 

This type of dashboard can simplify payments operations and management but also provide key insights that are critical for decision-making. A unified dashboard can allow institutions to quickly identify potential bottlenecks, inefficiencies, or areas for improvement. This, in turn, can significantly enhance operational efficiency, financial accuracy, and data-driven decision-making.

The Role of Payments Professionals

Building a custom payments strategy for higher ed is not for the faint of heart, but working with a team of payments professionals can greatly simplify this process. Not only can payments professionals operate from a strategic standpoint, but they can become active partners in implementing and maintaining your custom payment solutions, ensuring seamless integration with existing systems and ongoing operational efficiency.

Partnering with a team of payments experts like Arrow Payments means accessing a wealth of experience and in-depth knowledge about payment technologies and strategies. We have decades of experience helping universities navigate the complexities of payment management – and we can help you, too. Reach out today for your free consultation.

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