Costly, complicated to set up and difficult to track, international tuition payments have long been a source of frustration for both students and institutions. Last year, Humber partnered with the global payment platform Flywire in order to provide a more student-centred solution. Flywire’s worldwide payment network and web-based administrative tools simplify the transfer of funds internationally, making it both easier and less costly to send, receive and track funds. Since introducing Flywire in 2018, we’ve received 6,939 payments with a value of more than $67 million.
One key outcome of our internationalization strategy is to support the journey of our international learners better and use our resources to prepare them for success at Humber. Today, the resources we frequently turn to involve exciting new technology and digital tools, ones that can streamline, automate and solve problems to enhance the student experience.
Before the Flywire system was in place, students often struggled to pay tuition through local banks and with foreign currencies. Frequently there were few options to confirm receipt of funds sent to Humber or to get customer support along the way. For Humber’s International Admissions department, the challenge was matching payments from thousands of international students, as well as issuing refunds quickly and correctly when required. There was a need for a solution that could make the administration more efficient and give greater visibility into the process. That is when the idea to introduce Flywire was generated.
International tuition payments solved
The Flywire platform looks similar to an online banking interface and works to centralize and track all information regarding international tuition payments for applicants. It provides real-time tracking to see what’s been sent and received. It also communicates with students about their status and process refunds when necessary. The impact on Humber’s International Admissions was very positive, according to Kim Smith, Associate Director of International Admissions and Student Services.
“It’s a win-win,” says Smith, “It’s a win for students because the payment solutions are user friendly with enhanced customer service support. When a refund is required, students receive their refunded fees much quicker. It’s a win for Humber because the ability to track fees is more streamlined, everything is more automated and there are less ongoing customer service issues.”
The student response has also been very positive. Through Flywire, Humber students now have a range of local payment options at their fingertips that they can initiate online, and they can easily pay in their home currency. The platform also lets them see the status of their payment in real-time, so they know exactly when it’s been received. Flywire also provides multilingual support for students that is available 24 hours a day. The international admissions process is overwhelming enough for students. Making the payment process more simple and easier is a big relief and a significant improvement in the process.
Global solutions to support a global community
As we try to improve the student experience for international learners, we must open ourselves up to new ideas and innovative ways of approaching challenges. Digital platforms like Flywire are becoming a much bigger part of the picture and important tools in our internationalization strategy. They help us acknowledge our status as a truly global institution and, at the same time, help recognize how we can think globally and embrace global solutions that help our community engage with internationalization.