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The 2021 Student Financial Services Benchmarking Report, supported by TouchNet, is now available online. This report is based on survey responses from 361 U.S. colleges and universities and provides information on student financial services (SFS) operations during FY20 (July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020, for most schools).

The data show that student payments and institutions’ credit balance refunds continue to move away from manual processing and toward electronic options. This movement toward electronic processes appears to have accelerated during the COVID-19 crisis. From fiscal 2019 to 2020, the share of student payments made via the Internet jumped 4 percentage points, while the percentage received manually decline by almost 5 points. Many survey respondents said that because their campuses were closed for part of FY20 due to the pandemic, their students were more likely to pay their tuition and other bills online rather than in-person, which called for more digital processing of such payments.

Distribution by Dollar Volume of Payments Received From Students Through Various Payment Channels, Fiscal Years 2016 to 2020



Source: 2021 NACUBO Student Financial Services Survey Report.

Note: Other includes responses marked as Other, Cash, and Unknown.


Student refunds were also more likely to have been distributed to students through electronic means. From FY19 to FY20, institutional use of electronic direct deposits for student credit balance refunds increased from 55.3 percent to 59.6 percent, while refunds provided via paper checks fell from 39.4 percent to 35.5 percent. The move toward electronic methods may save both institutional funds and staff resources.

The 2021 Student Financial Services Benchmarking Report is available for purchase on the NACUBO website. Staff at participating institutions can access a complimentary copy of the report by contacting the NACUBO Research Team.


Ken Redd

Senior Director, Research and Policy Analysis



Kat Masterson

Assistant Director, Research and Policy Analysis


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