Southern Illinois University

E-Billing Not Only Good for The Environment and Students, But Also for SIU’s Budget

Southern Illinois University



Undergraduate Majors


The Challenge

Paper billing has long been one of the chief headaches for college and university staff.
For Southern Illinois University (SIU) Carbondale, the billing situation was a consistently
frustrating, expensive affair. An average of 26,000 tuition bills had to be processed,
printed, and mailed. They also had problems with students’ addresses changing or
being entered into the system incorrectly. Boxes of returned envelopes would start to
amass, waiting for someone to have time—a limited resource in the bursar’s office—to
deal with them.

In addition, many students needed more than one copy of their bill. Some needed extra
copies for multiple family members sharing the cost of tuition. Others needed a copy to
submit to their employers for reimbursement. Whatever the reason, every request for an
extra bill meant more staff hours to process the request and more money to cover the
printing and postage costs.

To cut back on those costs—and to support the university’s goal of moving towards
a paperless campus—SIU was badly in need of a more efficient, not to mention costeffective,
way to manage their billing processes.

“… the billing situation was a consistently frustrating, expensive affair”

The Solution

Enter FormFusion, the Document Enhancement & Distribution Solution from Evisions,
which made it easy for SIU to make their billing process entirely electronic. Not only
has switching to electronic billing (e-billing) solved all of the frustrations they’d been
suffering from with the old system, but it has also significantly reduced the staff’s
workload and saved the university more than $88,000 a year.

The most obvious advantage to e-billing is that SIU no longer has to spend the money
and time on producing hundreds of thousands of paper bills every year. Mailing delays
are no longer a concern. Printing and postage costs have disappeared. The ever-growing
stack of returned envelopes no longer clutters up the bursar’s office.

Instead, using FormFusion—and the optional PL SQL Script Director Module—SIU
produces PDF versions of every bill, uploads those PDFs to the student accounts on
SalukiNet (the university’s student portal) and sends notification emails to everyone
they just billed. With the new system, all of their students have access to their bills 24/7,
can print off as many copies as they need and even grant access to authorized thirdparty
users, if they so choose.

Implementing e-billing with FormFusion was a very straightforward process. SIU began
planning for the switch in July 2010. After creating a bill template with FormFusion’s
suite of design tools, SIU worked through Evisions’ e-Bill Integration Guide (available
through the CO-OP User Community) to configure FormFusion to upload the individual
bills to students’ SalukiNet accounts. By September they put the new system through
its paces, and by December of that year they were dual-billing with both paper and
electronic bills.

In May 2011, they moved strictly to e-bills. Not only has the bursar’s office saved more
than $88,000 a year between staff hours and postage and printing costs, but SIU’s
printing and shipping departments have also been able to cut back on their staff as
a result of the switch. Both the students—who no longer have to keep track of paper
bills or request additional copies—and the staff—who can now send 26,000 bills with a
couple of clicks of the mouse—have been very satisfied with the FormFusion solution.

“Not only has switching to electronic billing (e-billing) solved all of the frustrations they’d been suffering from with the old system, but it has also significantly reduced the staff’s workload and saved the university more than $88,000 a year.”

See how Switching to FormFusion for 1098T Processing Saved SIU Time & Money

Kudos From the Client

“E-billing has helped me keep track of my statements by allowing me to view them 24/7 online. Even better, I can give my parents access to view them online too! No more waiting on snail mail or losing statements!”

Ali Holford

Student, Southern Illinois University

“We experienced so many benefits from implementing E-billing by using FormFusion! In the first year after implementation, we saved over $88,000 in printing costs and postage alone, which made our school administration very happy. We saw reduced personnel time necessary to process our bills. E-billing also drastically reduced our return rate from the post office for those students that failed to update or forward their addresses. Students, proxies, and staff now also have convenient access to billing statements online at any time. When the benefits include convenience, proven significant savings, and happy students, staff, and school administration, it’s a win-win for everyone! It doesn’t get any better than that!”

Jill Kirkpatrick

Bursar, Southern Illinois University

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