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Electronic Payments Continue Growth Trend, 2014 Benchmarking Report Finds

March 20, 2015

Use of manual payment methods by students declined markedly in FY13, while payments made using electronic methods continued to see growth, according to the 2014 NACUBO Student Financial Services Benchmarking Report.

The just released report finds that manual payments represented approximately 38 percent of the total dollar volume of payments from students to institutions in FY13, down from 65 percent in FY08. During the same time frame, payments made online rose from roughly 21 percent to 41.5 percent, marking the first time electronic payments have outpaced manual ones. The SFS report also shows institutions issued approximately 40 percent of credit balance refunds via electronic deposit to student accounts, up from 20 percent five years ago. Refunds issued via paper checks fell to 51 percent, down from 83 percent.

Another key SFS indicator is the value of unpaid student accounts as a percentage of total dollars invoiced. In FY13, the average unpaid balance represented 4.5 percent of dollars invoiced, up slightly from 3.3 percent in FY12. This growth was fueled by community colleges, whose outstanding accounts receivables represented over 12 percent of total dollars invoiced, while comprehensive/doctoral, research, and small institutions all had outstanding accounts receivable at or less than 4 percent of total dollars invoiced.

Other student financial services indicators covered in the report relate to students with an unpaid balance, third-party payment mechanisms, staffing levels, and annual budget and expenditures.

Staff at the 376 institutions that participated in the 2014 SFS study receive free access to the report. Contact The report, supported by a grant from Tuition Management Systems, is also available for purchase online.


Mark O'Dell
Research Analyst