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Improving The International Student Experience

Online platforms that simplifies student payments and reconciliation



Difficulty managing an increase in incoming payments from overseas students


Online platforms that simplifies student payments and reconciliation


Improved student experience, and reduced administration

"The system is simple and easy to use. we have found that western union business solutions student hotline has given the students confidence when making what could be one of the largest payments they have made in their life."

-Stephen Stokes, Finance Manager of the International Student Office, University of Sydney

THE CHALLENGE: Receiving fees from international students

With more than 49,000 students across 16 faculties, the University of Sydney is one of Australia’s oldest and most respected universities. It is the equivalent of a major multinational organisation in terms of its operational complexity and the scope of its budget, and has close to 11,000 international students from 134 countries.

Western Union Business Solutions relationship with the University spans more than a decade. We worked together to fully integrate its outgoing international payments however, it also became apparent that an increase in incoming payments from overseas students were difficult to reconcile.

As Stephen Stokes, Finance Manager of the International Student Office explains, “We needed a solution that could automatically update information into our payment receipting system, and of course help solve a number of issues we were consistently facing.”

The university dealt with a number of challenges, including the impact of bank charges on the amount received, difficulty with reconciliation due to incomplete information from students, high merchant service fees attached to credit card payments, and the complexity of satisfying PCI compliance regulations.

THE SOLUTION: A clear and simple overview of currency exposures

The University of Sydney implemented GlobalPay for Students, a web based platform that facilitates online international payments either by bank transfer or credit card.

The payment platform can stand alone, be semi integrated or fully integrated into a student management and/or receipting system. The platform includes a student support service team that works with the university’s international student office. The support team has a dedicated phone hotline and email address to assist international students with their payment queries, and also handles all reporting and settlements enquires for the university.

Students can choose from 35 currencies and are able to pay their university related fees directly into a bank account in their home country. They incur no transaction charges from Western Union Business Solutions, and benefit from the reduced bank service fees as in many cases the transaction is treated as a local transfer.

THE RESULTS: Flexible payment options for students, easy reconciliation

Western Union Business Solutions offers a rebate to universities on payments that students make in their local currency when using a credit card. This helps offset the expensive merchant service fees applied to international credit card transactions. The system also provides PCI compliancy, shifting the responsibility to implement and monitor the processes and procedures necessary for compliance, away from the University.

“The use of credit cards globally has increased and it was important to be able to offer students this method of payment. However, the cost of receiving payments by credit card can be expensive.

“Having one provider for both wire and credit card payments keeps things simpler for us. We reduced our costs and the time we used to spend on student payment investigations. Because the platform links with our receipting system, manual processes are reduced which improves the accuracy of data,” Mr. Stokes commented.

With the competition between universities for attracting international students at a high, the ability for the student to pay their fees fast in their own currency is a highlight.

“Being able to pay online or receive a quote with payment instructions in a student’s home currency gives them certainty of what their tuition will cost. Also, the faster we receive the student’s payment, the quicker we are able to issue a certificate of enrolment which in turn speeds up the initiation of their visa application process,” said Mr. Stokes.

Western Union Business Solutions (WUBS) is the issuer of the products discussed in this video and would be a counterparty to any transaction you undertake with us. Click here for full disclaimer.
The Last
The ability to receive a quote in a student’s home currency gives them certainty of what their tuition will cost.
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