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Research
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2013 SFS Benchmarking Tool and Report Now Available

October 3, 2013

The percentage of students with unpaid balances continued to rise during FY 2012 (July 1, 2011, to June 30, 2012, at most institutions), according to NACUBO's 2013 Student Financial Services (SFS) Benchmarking Tool and Report. The annual report asks bursars and other financial services staff at U.S.-based two- and four-year public and private nonprofit colleges and universities to provide information on student account and loan receivables, payments and credit balance refunds, third-party payments, staffing, and expenditures for student financial services.

Since the report was first compiled for FY08, the percentage of students with unpaid balances has climbed from 23.9 percent to 31.7 percent in FY12. However, the dollar amount of unpaid balances as a percentage of the total amount invoiced has returned to previous levels and remains relatively low at 3.4 percent. Survey respondents also reported writing off a slightly higher percentage of institutional loans in FY12.

In addition, more institutions appear to be moving from onerous manual and lockbox payment channels to web-based payments. Schools still predominantly use paper checks to return credit balances to students, although a shift toward electronic payments and transfers is apparent.

SFS offices have reduced staff to the lowest average FTE in four years. Additionally, the number of FTE students per FTE SFS staff member has increased, and the SFS operating budget per FTE student has decreased. This indicates that fewer staff members are serving more students—and doing so with fewer financial resources—potentially demonstrating the emergence of a more efficient SFS office.

Obtain a Copy of the Report

In this fifth year of the SFS project, NACUBO received 380 valid responses; nearly 31 percent of these schools are first-time respondents. About 40 percent of the respondents have participated in the survey for three or more years. The overall survey results suggest substantial differences in student financial services operations, payment methods, and workloads, based on NACUBO constituent group.

To purchase the benchmarking report, visit the NACUBO website. The cost is $50.00 for members, $200.00 for nonmembers, and free for survey participants. The benchmarking tool is also available for NACUBO members who participated in the 2013 survey. 

Contact

James D. Ward
Research Analyst
202.861.2530
E-mail