Capturing Alternative Revenues

Strategic Lessons and Compendium of Tactics for Increasing Nontraditional Operating Revenue

Topics: Administration and Finance, Transportation and Parking, Auxiliary Enterprises, Space Utilization, Facilities and Operations, Revenue Enhancement, Alternative Revenues

Considering Credit Card Convenience Fees

To achieve the first imperative in successful revenue growth, colleges and universities should tap into student desire for speed and convenience. Students are often willing to pay premiums for greater flexibility or speedier service, summing to meaningful dollars for the institution.

Credit card fees are one example. Several institutions have implemented convenience fees for students paying tuition by credit card. Fees are typically 2.5% to 3%. This covers credit card companies’ transaction fees and creates some additional revenue for central priorities. Fees will decrease overall credit card use, but many families are willing to pay the fee for the added convenience and personal bonus points. Institutions that have pursued this approach also recommend explicitly stating how funds will be used and listing other institutions with similar fees, especially those in the same geographic area.

Because of contract and state laws, institutions hoping to apply a convenience fee must use a third-party vendor. This allows the vendor to technically apply the fee, rather than the bursar. Otherwise, the institution must apply the same fee to all payment types, including check and electronic debit. Note, as of this writing, Visa does not permit third-party vendors or convenience fees.

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Imperative #1: Capitalize on Student Demand for Convenience and Flexibility

De-Averaging Fee Schedules