Here’s a scenario that might sound familiar: There’s a medium-sized university that, in order to mail tuition bills to its students, must first jump through a dizzying array of hoops. Staff members spend weeks gathering relevant student information from their ERP. Everything is packaged up and sent to a third-party company for processing. Another week or more goes by, while the bills are processed, printed, stuffed into envelopes, and finally mailed out. Meanwhile, back at the university everyone is keeping a close watch on the calendar, hoping the bills make it to students’ mailboxes by the legally mandated deadline, two weeks before the payment is due.
After mailing, the hassle continues. For some students, their addresses have changed or their information was inaccurately entered into the ERP. Returned envelopes start to amass, waiting for someone in the bursar’s office to have time to deal with them. Some students request extra copies of their bill for an additional parent or an employer. Every request for an extra bill means more processing time. Not only does all this create a sinkhole for staff hours, but with costs of outsourcing, template-programming, paper, printing, postage—well, the whole thing is a costly affair.
Although your institution might not have to deal with all of these things, for many colleges and universities, this is the reality every time tuition bills are sent out. With thousands of bills to send out, this process is a race against time that is constantly frustrating, not to mention expensive. Large universities often spend upwards of $40,000 on contractors, paper, envelopes, and postage each year.
Electronic billing is a much easier and more cost-effective way to manage billing processes, but making the switch can seem like a daunting task. Enter FormFusion, Evisions’ document management and distribution solution. With FormFusion, switching to e-billing is as easy as connecting the solution to your ERP and creating bills in PDF format that you can distribute to your students electronically. You can opt to design a template from scratch with a built in set of design tools, or get a head start by downloading a pre-made template from the Evisions CO-OP community. After you’ve completed your bill design, FormFusion will output the bills directly into PDFs.
For distribution, you have several options. With the Email with Encryption module, you can securely email the PDF bills as attachments. Or, go for the PL-SQL Script Director module, which allows FormFusion to automatically upload the bills to a student portal system like Banner Self Service or Luminis. If you opt for the portal, FormFusion can also automatically send an email notifying students that their bills are available.
Right off the bat, switching to e-billing with FormFusion eliminates the costs of paper, postage, toner, envelopes, and outsourcing fees, which accounts for the bulk of traditional billing costs. But beyond that, e-billing also means that students no longer have to keep track of paper bills or request additional copies, further cutting back on postage and staff time. Staff members no longer spend weeks prepping and processing paper bills or fielding requests for additional copies. Instead, staff members can send bills with a few clicks then get on with helping students.
FormFusion also reduces errors when bills are processed, since the solution pulls data straight from a school’s ERP instantaneously, eliminating any risk of using outdated information. Staff members also spend less time following up with students about paying their bills because e-billing makes it easier for students to pay their bills faster. Tech-minded students report that they’re more satisfied with e-billing than paper bills because it’s easier to receive, pay, and keep track of. Plus, if they need to get a copy of an old bill, students can do it instantaneously by going back to their student portal instead of requesting a copy from the bursar.
Implementing a new business practice can be intimidating. But the ease of switching to electronic billing with FormFusion means that you can say goodbye to time-consuming and expensive paper billing.
What other advantages have you found to managing your billing electronically? Share your insights in the comments below!