Student debt. Some families assume it’s a fact of life, and don’t think twice before taking out their loans. For others, it is the single biggest obstacle for attending – and completing college. There’s lots of talk about how recent graduates are still struggling to pay off tens of thousands of dollars in student loans.
To make matters worse, students who do not graduate are three times more likely to default on their student loans. Helping students to continue their education is the best way to encourage a positive financial outcome for students. Payment plans allow students who are at risk of dropping out to continue (and complete) their education
As mentioned above, one doable solution to student debt is to make each semester’s tuition more manageable. With payment plans, students can pay as they go, making smaller payments spread out over time.
The most successful payment plans are customizable. Schools should offer several plans with customizations such as due dates, number of payments, and the option to pay over the summer, etc. Schools communicate that they care about a student’s circumstances by offering multiple plans to better fit their needs. When students can choose a plan that fits with their finances, they are more likely to take responsibility and ownership to make that payment plan work.
For schools to maximize payment plan enrollment, marketing and communication is necessary. Particularly among freshmen, it is important to communicate payment plan information to both incoming students AND their families. Make sure to have in-person communication such as at orientation, or through one-on-one student success consultations. This way, students can ask questions and receive answers. Reinforce your message through email, postcards, flyers, etc. to your student body, and provide a phone number or live chat to help onboard new student accounts.