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2015 NACUBO Student Financial Services Benchmarking Report Released

December 1, 2015

The just-released 2015 Student Financial Services (SFS) Benchmarking Report is now available online and provides information on student financial services operations at American higher education institutions during FY14 (July 1, 2013, to June 30, 2014, at most schools). The report is based on survey responses received from 438 colleges and universities.

The data show a smaller percentage of students have unpaid balances—and those balances are lower, too. The percentage of students with unpaid balances declined from 31.3 percent in FY13 to 30.8 percent in FY14, and the dollar amount of unpaid balances as a percentage of the total amount invoiced fell to 3.3 percent from 4.5 percent the year prior. However, the percentage of student accounts placed in collections  increased to 5.7 percent in FY14 from 5.3 percent the previous three years. At the same time, survey respondents reported a slightly lower percentage of institutional loans written off in FY14.

In addition, it appears that more institutions have moved from using paper checks and other manual processes for collecting student payments to web-based payment methods. Payments received via paper checks fell from 43.4 percent of total payment volume in FY10 to 31.3 percent in FY14. In contrast, payments received via web- or e-check rose from about 18 percent of total dollars to 32 percent.

SFS offices had an average staff size of 10.3 full-time equivalent employees in FY14, a slight decline from the overall average size of 11 reported in FY10. There was also a decrease in the average number of full-time equivalent (FTE) students per FTE SFS staff member (802.4 in FY14 versus 822 in FY13). However, there is a very large variance around the averages for both of these statistics, particularly for respondents from community colleges. This wide variation makes interpreting these results difficult.

Copies of the 2015 NACUBO SFS Benchmarking Report are available for purchase from the NACUBO website. Staff at participating institutions can access a complimentary copy of the report through NACUBO's Online Research portal


Ken Redd
Director, Research and Policy Analysis