International Payments | Case Studies

How the University of Southampton utilised our student marketing resources to increase incoming tuition payments through the WU® GlobalPay for Students Platform.

The University of Southampton has a large number of international students who wish to pay their tuition and accommodation fees in their local currency. Therefore, the University needed a payments platform that allowed students to pay in the currency of their choice while they received the GBP amount in full. Western Union Business Solutions also provided a wide range of marketing support to help raise awareness of the platform to students and increase the number of transactions. This helped The University process £1m worth of transactions in the first month and ease the reconciliation process considerably.

Enhancing student experience
Enhancing student experience and efficiency of incoming international payments

Enhancing student experience, and efficiency of incoming international payments

WU® GlobalPay for Students

Improved international student payment experience and finance efficiency

The Challenge: Shortfalls proved costly and inefficient

The University of Southampton has over 6000 international students, which could make timely and efficient collection of tuition and accommodation payments a key priority for both the finance team and students.

Incoming international payments have posed several problems for the University of Southampton. Funds from overseas students often arrived in the University bank account with incomplete information, which made it difficult for staff to allocate the payment to a student account. In addition, many incoming international payments arrived short due to international wire fees and currency fluctuations.

We appreciate that the student’s experience is a priority for the University of Southampton, so this proved an unsatisfactory situation. From the University’s perspective, receiving short payments was costly and inefficient. Staff had to follow up with students, who would often be unaware of the shortfall on their account, for these outstanding amounts which wasted valuable time and resource. Finally, the University also faced challenges with reconciling payments to students’ accounts which also proved time consuming and inefficient.

“The implementation of WU GlobalPay for students has exceeded our expectations. It quickly became apparent that students welcomed this facility – we received over £1m in just over a month.” 

-- David Lund Yates, Deputy Head of Income, University of Southampton 

The Solution: An "one-stop" payment service

The University of Southampton implemented the WU GlobalPay for Students platform to enable international students or their parents to pay tuition and accommodation fees in their local currency by international bank transfer.

The implementation process was smooth due to a strong working partnership between multiple stakeholders within the University and Western Union Business Solutions. This ensured the platform was launched successfully, and the availability of this new payment option was communicated to students.

The University has implemented several communications initiatives to promote WU GlobalPay for Students and has also removed the University’s bank details from their web pages to further streamline payment and collection processes. This has created a ‘one-stop’ payment solution for international students. The University also plans to pilot a refund service which will enhance the student experience even further.

The Results: Students save, and payments arrive in full  

Since implementing WU GlobalPay for Students, the University has found it now receives student payments in GBP for the full amount with minimal delay, and the reconciliation process is much smoother. For students, the ability to pay in a local currency platform means costs savings and faster payments, ultimately leading to better University experience.

The solution has also provided benefits for the University because it no longer needs to chase students for shortfalls on payments. The platform also enables them to easily identify the payments made, and easily reconcile them to their respective student accounts, thereby freeing up precious resources. Overall, the University has found WU GlobalPay for Students much easier to use than its previous system, and it particularly appreciates the superior reporting function.

Two years after implementation the University has received more than £4m through WU GlobalPay for Students, almost triple the amount received in the first year. This was achieved by ongoing collaboration between the University and Western Union Business Solutions to continually increase the adoption levels of the platform.

To ensure further growth, both parties continue to work together to maximise adoption rates with a range of initiatives including online marketing, social media, events and student focus groups and surveys to capture user feedback.

Western Union Business Solutions is a trusted partner for incoming and outgoing international payments and foreign exchange. Speak to an Education specialist today to find out how we can help your institution make considerable cost and time savings.

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Disclaimer: Western Union Business Solutions accepts payments and provides foreign exchange services on behalf of its educational institution clients and not as a payment service provider for student payors. This example is for illustrative purposes only. Your results may vary.