Higher institutions of education have a responsibility to teach a new generation of students to achieve their potential, but at the same time, they face an enormous financial responsibility when it comes to serving both the student body and maintaining the economic health of the school itself. With so many students coming in under a variety of different admission methods—be it student loans, scholarships, or simply paying tuition on their own or through family assistance—it’s up to each institution to handle these transactions responsibly.
This is no more true than during the start of the school year, when a flood of students comes back to register, pay tuition, and buy textbooks for the next year. Few people realize just how many financial transactions occur at the tertiary level, but for the smooth operation of any school, it’s one of the invisible foundations that keeps the entire institution going. That’s why it’s imperative that any institution make sure that their payment systems are up to date, and ready for the future, because it is the future that a school is building with each new year of students.
Credit card processing as well as bank/debit and ACH payment processing systems should be implemented and kept current at any school. The nature and volume of transactions for tuition and textbooks—as well as the student nature of the customer-base—ensure that many forms of payment other than cash are going to be used, and a school must be prepared for those transactions. Make sure that your bookstores and other outlets are outfitted with similar infrastructure to your registrar or comptroller. After all, if your school is able to accept tuition fees without requiring actual physical cash, the same should apply to all facilities with monetary transactions.
Both credit and debit transactions afford a greater measure of security and accountability for both parties involved. They provide established protocols and solutions in the event of disputes, so there’s actually a minimizing of risk in transactions by maintaining these payment processing systems.
The future, as to be expected, is harder to predict. Money is transacted in many new ways in the 21st century, including payment through mobile devices like tablets and smartphones, as well as new payment services thanks to people generating their income online, as with PayPal. There are even new “currencies” with actual monetary value, such as Bitcoin, that may become major factors in financial transactions as they are already gaining some traction today.
Whatever the future holds, educational institutions must be prepared for the unique demands that merchant transactions make on both schools and students in the 21st century.