Students Want to Pay Tuition Online: Is That a Good Thing for Colleges?

Amy Jenkins
May 9, 2023

The traditional method of paying college tuition involves long lines, paper checks, and a lot of hassle. And that’s just the student perspective!  For the bursar’s office it means having to staff up, walk checks to a bank and do a lot of manual reconciliation.  In recent years, more and more colleges have begun to offer online payment options, making it easier for students to pay their tuition on time. The result is increased convenience, improved security, and cost savings for both students and institutions.

Convenience: One of the primary benefits of online tuition payments is the convenience they offer to students. With online payments, students can pay their tuition from anywhere at any time, using a computer, tablet, or mobile device. This eliminates the need to visit the bursar's office in person, which can save time and reduce stress for busy students. In fact, according to a survey by ACI Worldwide, 90% of students and families who pay by phone or in person said they would pay online if they could. 

Improved Security: Online tuition payments also offer improved security compared to traditional payment methods. When students pay tuition online, their sensitive financial information is protected by encryption and other security measures, reducing the risk of fraud and identity theft. Additionally, online payments eliminate the need for paper checks, which can be lost or stolen, further reducing the risk of financial fraud.

Cost Savings: Online tuition payments can also save both students and institutions money. For students, online payments eliminate the need to purchase paper checks and stamps, saving them money on supplies and postage. For institutions, online payments reduce the administrative costs associated with processing paper checks, such as printing and mailing costs and staffing up to handle manual processes. According to one report, the cost of processing a paper check can be up to 10 times higher than processing an online payment.

Increased Timeliness of Payments: Online tuition payments can also improve the timeliness of payments. According to a report by Nelnet Campus Commerce, institutions that offer online payment options see a 50% reduction in late payments compared to institutions that only offer traditional payment methods. This is because online payments are faster and more convenient, allowing students to pay their tuition on time even if they are unable to visit the bursar's office in person.

Online tuition payments offer numerous benefits to college students, including increased convenience, improved security, cost savings, and increased timeliness of payments. As more and more institutions offer online payment options, it is likely that the trend toward online payments will continue to grow. By embracing online payments, colleges can improve the student experience, reduce administrative costs, and improve the financial health of their institutions.

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