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The Other Student Debt Crisis: Institutional Debt

Inside Higher ED recently published an opinion piece focused on the unpaid tuition and fees that are forcing students to leave school without a diploma.  According to EAB, an education research firm, “Nearly 1 million students withdraw each year, for unpaid balances.” The majority struggle term to term to pay tuition, rent, food, health care and child care.

Nearly 1 million students withdraw each year, for unpaid balances.

Author David Scobey points out that current policies and practices are a barrier to student success and contribute to revenue loss. For example, a “bursar hold” blocks access to transcripts and continued enrollment, preventing the student from completing their education securing employment.

Keep in mind that 80% of students who leave school are in good academic standing and only owe an average of 10-20% of their unsettled bill. One in six delinquent students are referred to third-party collection agencies, adding up to 30% in fees to their already past due student account.

Scobey suggests that institutions need to change their approach and look for new financial strategies. OnPlanU’s industry leading receivables management and collection system proactively reaches out, via text, email and/or automated phone call, to students who have overdue accounts. The program offers customized payment plans to match students’ unique circumstances, while improving student retention and loyalty. OnPlanU’s 24/7 self-service environment allows students to login at any time from any device—computer, tablet or mobile device.

In 18 months, the OnPlanU pre-collect system collected on 20% of the placed accounts, saving James Madison University $320,000 in collection agency fees.

OnPlanU’s innovative, yet simple collection solution can help solve this student debt crisis. To learn more, contact Billi Tilly (btilly@onplanu.com) or Judith Flink (jflink@onplanu.com).