Collecting private school tuition is a challenging responsibility. Your time is in short supply and chasing late tuition and fee payments from families should not be your main focus. Check out these tips on collecting payments more efficiently.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate. Not only do you need to keep the lines of communication open between the business office and families, but you also need to make sure all staff members are on the same page – that includes the head of school, finance officers, coaches, and the board. Publish due dates on your school website, newsletter, email communications, etc. Send reminders prior to payment due dates and notifications if payments are late but overall, be open to working with families that proactively reach out to you for help.
- Set clear policies. And then make sure you enforce them. Have a clear, strongly written school policy. Your policy should be readily available, so include it in your tuition contract, post it in the school office, and make it easy to find on your school website. Publish your actual due date and try to avoid announcing any grace periods (that encourages delinquency). If your tuition is DUE on the 5th, then it is late on the 6th. When hardship hits, work with the family to always pay something toward their tuition – skipping a whole month’s tuition payment can make it even more difficult to pay in the long run. Start your payment plans before you start your school year and try to make sure payment plans end at least one month before the school year ends to ensure you can reach out to any late payers before losing them to summer break.
- Make it easy and secure. One way you can be sure your families won’t make tuition payments on time is by not giving them enough options to pay. Offer due dates that accommodate payroll dates (like the 5th and 20th of the month). Use a third-party company to actively manage your tuition payments and fee billing that can offer flexible payment options like ACH, credit or debit card, online and phone payments. In addition to flexibility, a third party can also offer an extra layer of security so your school reduces the risk of breaches and cyber theft.
The education your school provides is valuable, so don’t be shy to remind families that what you do is worth something. Communication, clear policies, and flexible and secure payment methods will make tuition collection easier and will free up time for you to focus on what’s important – educating students.