Late tuition fees are a reality for most K-12 schools. However, the way they’re handled can be the difference between a growing arrears balance that’s hugely time-consuming to control and a small number of late payers who are generally managed automatically without any work from your administrative team.

Here are four tips for optimising your school’s approach to late tuition fees:

1. Automate tuition fee collection
If you don’t already have an automated system managing your tuition payments, this is an absolute game changer. Automating tuition fee payments means significantly less administration for your school to manage and makes things simpler and more convenient for families.

Tuition payment solutions like FACTS help schools to streamline and simplify tuition fee management while giving them complete oversight. With school fees securely transferred on pre-agreed dates or frequencies and automatically matched to the correct student account, there’s no data entry, manual reconciliation or record-keeping required.

2. Communicate and enforce your tuition policy
Schools that manage late tuition fees successfully usually have a clear tuition fee policy that’s regularly shared with the school community and accessible via the school’s website or family portal.

Your school’s tuition fee policy should make your approach to late fees clear and be signed whenever a new student is enrolled. Ensure it covers what happens if a regular fee payment is missed, the amount of time families have to catch up on any overdue payments, and next steps if the missed payment is not received within the stated timeframe. It’s best not to formally communicate any grace periods withing your fee policy as this could encourage delinquency.

3. Be proactive and consistent with accounts that are entering delinquency
A tuition management solution that sends automatic reminders to families when fees are due – and if payments are missed – will significantly reduce the number of late payments your school receives. However, you should also have a trigger point for where manual intervention is required if an account is slipping into serious delinquency.

Chasing money is never fun, but proactively reaching out to families who are falling into serious arrears – particularly if they’re usually prompt payers – will allow you to understand their situation and agree a payment plan to recoup these funds.

4. Offer payment plans and a range of payment options
If a family is experiencing hardship, work with them to create a tailored payment plan that sees them make a regular contribution towards their tuition fees. Depending on their situation, you might push due dates out by an agreed period, split their arrears balance across the remaining payments due in that school year, or simply extend their existing payment schedule by a month or two.

Providing a range of payment options also makes it easier for families to pay their fees. Ensure you accept credit and debit cards, online and phone payments. Even if you don’t usually accept cash payments for tuition fees, you might consider making an exception if this will make it easier for certain families to catch up on their payments.

Your school’s approach to late tuition fees should be clear, consistent and professional. By letting families know what to expect, following the same process each time an account falls into arrears and managing overdue payments with empathy and a commitment to get things back on track, your school can ensure late tuition fees don’t become an unpleasant matter for your administration team and impacted families.

FACTS is a powerful tuition management platform that supports a best practice approach to managing tuition fees. Automated payments let staff and families spend less time and effort managing tuition and enjoy better convenience, transparency and security. With FACTS, managing late tuition fees is simple and straightforward.