Miami University- Consolidation was the Key

The difference a one stop office and one system platform can make.

 

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About Miami University

Founded in 1809, Miami University is a residential university with faculty who are dedicated to learning and discovery. A liberal education core provides the foundation for the more specialized studies of the majors. Immersing students in both academic and co-curricular experiences has enabled Miami to achieve a top-tier national ranking among universities that provide the best student outcomes.  Miami offers bachelor's degrees in over 120 areas of study, serving 16,000 plus students.*

*http://miamioh.edu/about-miami/quick-facts/index.html

How we got there:

Miami has been a long time partner of Tuition Management Systems (TMS) for almost 20 years. Initially, TMS was the exclusive payment plan provider for Miami University and for many years this met our needs in helping students manage their student accounts and paying for their education at Miami University.  However, with the evolution of technology and the need for online payment acceptance and real time data, we worked with other providers to add additional services outside of just the payment plan.

In 2013, we transitioned to a One-Stop Model for Student Financial Services and the TMS Student Account Center (SAC) was the ideal platform to support this initiative. The SAC seamlessly integrates with our Banner self-service portal, MyMiami, providing a real-time view for students and parents to view account balances, payment plans and one-time payments. 

Shortly after implementing the SAC, we also began expanding online commerce in other business areas.  Payment portals now help us not only manage tuition, but also admissions deposits, meal plans, housing deposits, our summer scholars and study abroad programs to name a few.  This transition to one vendor was a significant cost savings for our university and an easier user experience for our staff.

With the SAC alongside a One-Stop service model and a few changes to our payment process, year-over-year we saw significant improvements in number of dropped students for non-payments. The SAC provides visibility into what is owed and the payment tools, payment plan and one-time payments, to manage this. This allows our business office to focus on the students who truly need our help.

"It didn’t happen overnight of course, but we believe the consolidation of vendor partners to one, adoption of the Student Account Center, transition to a ‘OneStop’ office and a change within our internal billing process lead to a 40% decrease in dropped students for nonpayment.  Reduction in this percentage resulted in significantly less work for our staff, and more satisfied students."

Kriss Cassano

Bursar, Miami University

Our next steps:

For the fall of 2016, we began the move to our “Miami Tuition Promise”, a program that will provide all first-time undergraduate students and their families the certainty that tuition, room and board, special purpose and course fees will be frozen over the four years of a student’s Miami experience.  We looked to TMS to provide a custom display to the SAC Summary page. They worked with our students and staff to deliver a custom view that met our criteria.

Finally, with the release of the new DOE Cash Management Rules, our legacy refunding vendor notified us in early 2016 they would no longer be offering refunding services.  The TMS Refund solution was a natural choice and we were able to easily implement the solution with no disruption of service to our student body.  We are excited that by the winter of 2017, our students will be able to manage their refund preferences from that single source, the Student Account Center.

“TMS has always been an extension of service to complement our office with their technology and support.  Their collaborative efforts have been expressed in many ways:  Miami is a participant in the TMS Client Advisory Board where voice of customer is that board’s priority and purpose to serve and grow with their clients; their flexibility with our SAC deployment to develop a featuring allowing us to lock tuition for four years to meet a unique school need; a dedicated service team who is always there when we need them. TMS both listens and responds. “ 

Kerri Jackson, Associate Bursar for Operations

 

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