The leading experts in campus-wide payment solutions to independent schools.

Blog

Getting Stakeholder Buy-in: Creating Your Own Tuition Program

Change is never easy, especially when it involves your largest source of revenue. Identifying that your school needs to adjust or even replace your tuition management program is a sensitive topic, involves a lot of executive stakeholders, and requires a well developed plan. In order to ensure that you are providing the best tuition solution for your families and mutually benefits your business office, it all begins with research.

Do the Research

Research is important to any big change, and because you are reading this guide you are already on the right path! Whether you are interested in shifting to an in-house tuition management program or a hybrid program, research will drive decision making and planning. Below are some of the features and services you should have at a minimum for an online tuition system and a Tuition Management Company.

Some features you need from an online tuition system:

  • Flexible payment options
  • Cost-neutral fee system
  • Offers flexible payment plans
  • Can accept ACH, credit, and debit cards

Features you need from a Tuition Management Company:

  • Invoicing and follow up communication
  • Issues late fees on late payments
  • Provides support to families making payments
  • Integrates well with current vendors and finance system
  • Offers flexible payment options

Money is an important factor as well. Compare the cost for using a TMC versus implementing an online tuition system, and if either has customizable options that allow for a hybrid program. Employee time is also a cost factor, and can be plugged into a formula to see which system is financially suitable for your school.

At the end of the day, the tuition management program you put in place needs to meet the needs of your families so that they can easily pay, and when necessary, improve the affordability without adding creating situations.

in-house tuition Case Study

Create a Plan

Once you’ve identified a few service providers or solutions that meet your requirements, it’s time to create a plan. Your plan should include timetables, responsibilities broken down, tasks to assign, costs involved, objectives, and the step-by-step process to implement the plan.

However, when it comes time to present your findings to executives, don’t cover everything. In fact, keep it high-level, and if they ask about one of these areas, you’ll already be prepared for the answer. By keeping the the initial presentation of your plan at a high-level, your executive stakeholders will understand why the business office wants to pursue this change, but not have to worry about the finite details that can become distracting.

Communicate What Your Families Want and Need in a Tuition Program

Besides identifying a need for a new tuition management program and creating a plan, communication will be one of the most important parts of getting buy-in. On one hand you want to ensure that everyone is constantly informed of what you are trying to do, on the other some stakeholders don’t need to know everything.

Besides meetings and presentations of your findings, expect to send a lot of emails, place flyers around your office, and maybe a few post-it notes. Map communication based on need, how much a stakeholder needs to know, and how soon you want to implement the solution. It’s also a good idea to work more closely with change drivers, or people who will help the stakeholders understand why change is so important. Unfortunately for every good plan or idea, there will always be resistance.

Prepare for Resistance

“It’s what we’ve always done.” “If it’s not broken, why fix it?”

These are perfectly normal and predictable questions that you should prepare for. In some situations, your families will be your biggest supporter of change and resistance will be minimal, but this is not always the case.

With research and a plan in place, you should already have the information necessary to battle any potential change resistors. Focus on a few key areas, such as saving time and money, or even having greater control and flexibility. The greatest potential for resistance for change to a tuition management program will come in the form of time. Time to implement, time to train, and time to educate parents on the new process. By combining your key messages with a well developed plan, resistance will be futile.

Test Drive

If you are getting positive feedback and interest from your stakeholders, it’s time to test drive your plan. For those looking to manage everything in-house, get an online tuition system in place and have internal team members test it out. Then invite a few trusted families, especially those who may have requested improvements to how they can pay, and ask for feedback. In many cases, even if a parent is unhappy about the current situation, they can be your best case for furthering the process as they are motivated to see improvements.

Review and Learn

Once you have enough positive feedback from your families, your process will speak for itself. Continue to monitor the tuition process and feedback from tuition payees, and each year your program can be further improved or made more efficient.

Questions? Speak With the Experts

Do you have questions about in-house tuition management programs? Our subject matter experts work with all types of schools, small and large, on all of their financial and payment processing needs. Feel free to reach out by clicking the button below.

To get the latest merchant account and business office thought leadership content in your inbox each week, subscribe to our digest.