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Bringing online payment convenience to school for everything Meeting parents needs with Amazon- like experience for sign- up and paying

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Bringing  online  payment  convenience  to  school  for  everything  

 

Meeting  parents’  needs  with  Amazon-­‐like  experience  for  sign-­‐up  and  paying  

 

   

Modern  parents  have  to  juggle  multiple  demands,  schedules  and  responsibilities  in  their  complex  lives.   When  they  have  children  in  schools,  they  need  to  pay  for  their  meals,  get  them  registered  for  activities   and  provide  documentation  such  as  physicals  and  permission  forms,  among  many  other  tasks.   Taking   care  of  these  tasks  can  mean  writing  multiple  checks  and  hoping  they  aren’t  lost  in  a  backpack,  keeping   track  of  and  completing  a  variety  of  forms,  and  taking  time  out  of  their  workday  to  go  to  the  school  to   sign  up  for  activities.  

   

This  reality  is  a  far  cry  from  the  convenience  many  parents  have  come  to  expect  in  a  world  where  they   now  pay  bills,  do  their  banking  and  even  shop  for  groceries  online.  Now  this  is  changing  as  schools  adopt   comprehensive  fee  management  software  that  lets  parents  pay  all  school-­‐related  fees,  register  their   students  for  activities  and  submit  forms  online,  all  through  one  convenient,  secure  and  easy-­‐to-­‐use  web   site.  

 

   

The  challenges  of  creating  convenience  and  efficiency  

 

Two  primary  challenges  in  instituting  a  one-­‐stop  shopping  experience  for  parents  are  making  it  simple   and  inviting  to  use,  and  breaking  down  silos  in  schools  to  bring  everything  together  in  one  place.  

   

Currently,  many  schools  have  online  payment  system  parents  can  use  for  school  lunches  and  some  fees.   They  may  also  have  another  system  for  registering  for  community  education  classes  and  still  another   system  for  paying  for  child  care.  To  use  these,  parents  have  to  go  to  multiple  web  sites  and  remember   multiple  logins  or  submit  paper  forms  with  a  check.  Still  there  are  things  they  can  only  accomplish  by   going  to  school.   Some  parents  only  use  their  checking  account  for  school  payments,  using  electronic   payments,  bank  cards  and  online  shopping  for  all  other  purchases.  

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Part  of  this  fractured  approach  is  the  result  of  different  stakeholders  in  schools  having  different  needs   and  processes,  from  food  service  directors  who  manage  meal  payments  to  athletic  directors  who  need   to  know  whether  a  student  has  an  up-­‐to-­‐date  physical,  to  business  managers  coping  with  cash  and   checks  and  teachers  seeking  permission  slips  from  parents  for  field  trips.  Engaging  all  the  stakeholders  in   the  success  of  a  comprehensive  fee  management  system  is  imperative  for  making  the  experience   convenient  and  rewarding  for  parents.  

   

The  solution:  A  single  gateway  to  all  revenue  and  registration  processes  

 

Meeting  the  diverse  needs  of  various  school  stakeholders  while  simplifying  payment  and  registration  for   parents  requires  instituting  a  single  system  that  has  broad  functionality  to  encompass  a  variety  of   processes  but  is  still  is  easy  to  use,  attractive  and  convenient.  

   

The    Rosemount-­‐Apple Valley-­‐Eagan Public Schools—Minnesota’s  fourth  largest  district,  with  more  than  

 

27,000  students—set  out  to  find  such  a  system.  One  of  its  first  steps  was  to  form  a  team  of  stakeholders   to  ensure  that  everyone—community  education,  food  services,  finance,  technology,  operations,  athletics,   fine  arts,  academics,  high  schools,  middle  schools  and  elementary  schools—had  a  voice  at  the  table  to   define  the  overall  objectives  of  such  a  system  and  identify  the  critical  needs  for  each  of  their  specific   areas.  

   

The  goal  was  to  find  a  single  system  that  would  encompass  all  the  areas  that  generate  revenue  and   require  registration  in  the  district.  The  desired  result  for  parents  would  be  an  Amazon-­‐type,  one-­‐stop-­‐   shopping  experience  with  a  uniform  look  and  functionality.  For  the  district,  it  would  be  a  single  solution   that  would  allow  staff  to  efficiently  manage  activity  registration,  requests  for  products  or  services  and   account  for  payments  both  online  and  in  person.  It  also  would  integrate  with  the  district's  finance  and   student  information  systems  to  automate  much  of  the  process.  

   

Important  benefits  

 

A  single-­‐site,  single-­‐login  comprehensive  fee  management  system  offers  a  number  of  important   benefits.  

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Ease  of  use  and  convenience.  A  secure  online  payment  and  registration  system  that  is  uniform,  

 

seamless  and  easy  to  use  offers  parents  the  convenience  and  efficiencies  they  have  come  to  expect  from   their  experience  with  such  familiar  online  retailers  as  Amazon.  

   

Comprehensive  functionality.   The  market  offers  a  variety  of  programs  that  handle  individual  functions,  

such  as  community  education  registration,  athletics  registration,  and  food  service  payments.  However,  a   single  system  that  comprehensively  encompasses  all  revenue-­‐  and  registration-­‐related  functions  allows   districts  to  support  a  single  product  with  current  and  future  expansion  capabilities.  It  replaces  multiple   systems  and  gives  parents  a  uniform,  easy-­‐to-­‐use  interface  and  process.  

   

Improved  efficiency.  Parents  no  longer  have  to  come  to  school  to  register  students  and  pay  for  activities  

or  other  services,  providing  valuable  convenience.  The  elimination  of  manual  registration  also  saves   significant  school  staff  time  and  resources.  Eliminating  or  greatly  reducing  the  use  of  cash  ends  audit   questions  and  problems  with  handling  cash.  A  comprehensive  fee  management  system  also  improves   tracking  of  all  revenue  streams.  

   

What  to  look  for  in  a  solution  

 

When  considering  a  comprehensive  fee  management  system,  be  sure  to  look  for  the  following  features:  

 

   

Easy-­‐to-­‐use  interface:  Everything  about  the  experience  should  be  geared  toward  customer  satisfaction  

and  service.  In  addition  to  allowing  transactions  from  multiple  departments  or  programs,  the  system   should  require  just  a  few  steps  to  finish  the  transaction.  

   

Compliant  with  standards:   A  comprehensive  fee  management  system  must  be  PCI-­‐DSS  compliant  to  

ensure  security  of  the  transactions  and  identify  information.  

   

Integration:  For  full  automation  functionality,  the  system  should  integrate  with  the  school’s  student  

record,  finance,  food  service  and  other  databases.  Reporting  should  be  robust,  with  the  ability  of  users   to  access  custom,  ad  hoc  and  canned  reports  at  different  authentication  levels.  

   

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 provide  robust  financial  tracking  capabilities  

 

 allow  sliding  fee  scale  for  fees  and  automatically  calculate  fees  based  on  eligibility  

 

 identify  if  a  student  qualifies  for  a  service  or  reduced  pricing  

 

 allow  parents  to  type  into  active  forms  and  sign  them  electronically  

 

 provide  immediate  proof  of  approval,  confirmation  or  receipt  

 

 let  parents  see  fees  paid,  completed  forms  and  class/activity  information  

 

 allow  for  refunds  based  on  district  policies  and  parameters  

 

 conduct  a  placement  of  registrations  or  applications  by  a  lottery  process  

 

 include  class  planning  and  event  set-­‐up  capabilities  

 

   

Extensive  support:  Look  for  a  vendor  who  will  collaborate  with  the  district  to  support  the  system  for  the  

long-­‐term,  providing  consulting,  implementation,  training  and  support.  

   

The  FeePay™:  Comprehensive  Fee  Management  System  advantages  

 

The  District  196  team  put  together  a  needs  assessment  that  resulted  in  a  vision  of  a  comprehensive  fee   management  system  that  would  meet  those  needs.  It  identified  13  potential  providers  and  issued  a   detailed  request  for  proposals  outlining  its  desired  system.  After  thorough  review  of  responses  to  its   request  for  proposals  and  realizing  none  met  all  the  requirements  the  district  chose  to  work  with  TIES  to   enhance  the    FeePay™  online  payment  system  to  add  the  functionality  the  district  needed  and  turn  it   into  a  Comprehensive  Fee  Management  System.  After  adopting  the  enhanced  FeePay™  Comprehensive  

 

Fee  Management  System,  the  district  realized  a  265  percent  increase  in  online  payments  in  one  year.   FeePay™  Comprehensive  Fee  Management  System  provides  the  following  unique  advantages:  

Most  comprehensive  system:   FeePay™  is  the  only  solution  that  includes  community  education  and  

 

preK-­‐  and  school-­‐age  child  care  registration  and  payment,  in  addition  to  meals,  transportation,  activities   and  other  school-­‐related  activities  and  fees.  

   

Full  integration:   FeePay™  integrates  with  any  student  information  and  finance  system,  providing  for  

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More  than  46  years  of  experience:  FeePay™:  Comprehensive  Fee  Management  System  was  developed  

by  TIES  in  partnership  with  Arux  and  BankCard Services Worldwide.  TIES  was  established  in  1967  as  a   collaborative  of  Minnesota  school  districts  to  develop  innovative  software  for  school  administration.   TIES  understands  the  unique  needs  of  education  and  is  dedicated  to  meeting  them.  

   

TIES  believes  engaged  parents  and  a  supportive  community  foster  academic  and  financial  success  of   schools.  

   

To  find  out  more  about  FeePay™:  Comprehensive  Fee  Management  System,  please  contact  

sales@feepay.com.    

 

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