[Case Study] University of Pittsburgh

Reduces collections burden and improves student experience with automated payment process

The University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) serves more than 32,000 undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate students. Among its many accolades, the school was ranked the #1 public university in the Northeast by The Wall Street Journal in 2020.


Like any large institution, Pitt has its share of student accounts that become delinquent due to failed payment, shortfall in aid, or students dropping out with outstanding balances. In fact, each year, Pitt’s Student Financial Services (SFS) team can predict exactly how many student accounts will unfortunately be sent to collections. Despite attempts to reduce collection numbers by testing new communication strategies and tweaking the timing on pre-collection actions, nothing seemed to work. With thousands of new students enrolling each term, just six collectors on staff, and an antiquated payment platform to assist with past-due accounts, the collections outcome was immovable. With the SFS department facing reduced headcount due to budget constraints and looming retirements, Pitt needed to find a way to help keep students enrolled and protect their brand by reducing the number of students going into collections.

Additionally, Pitt’s existing payment platform for billing, domestic payments, and payment plans had become outdated and was not a mobile-friendly user experience. This resulted in an overwhelming number of support calls to the SFS team and significant time spent updating and maintaining the information presented on the user interface. To provide a better staff and student experience, Pitt began looking for a new payment partner to better meet their needs.

1787Founded as the Pittsburgh Academy
32,000+Undergraduate & graduate students
14:1Student/faculty ratio
#1Public University in the Northeast: 2020 Wall Street Journal
#18Public University: 2020 US News & World Report


Already successfully using Flywire for the secure processing of international education payments for several years, Pitt turned to Flywire for domestic collections advice before deciding to implement Flywire's collection management solution. With Flywire's solution, Pitt is now able to proactively collect on more accounts internally, reduce collection agency placements, and keep more students enrolled by automating the past-due receivables process to increase productivity and cash flow. Using Flywire’s collector timeline feature, the Pitt team is able to visually see a schedule of collection activities and quickly take action on work items. The actions worklist is then automatically pushed to staff collectors for sorting and prioritizing by date, action type and more. Each timeline can easily be organized and customized to display actions targeted for student-specific circumstances, and collectors are able to add notes for any timeline changes or completed tasks to increase visibility among the SFS team.

Following success with Flywire's collection management solution, Pitt partnered closely with Flywire to further improve the overall payment experience and drive additional efficiency by automating the payment process and consolidating student financial account details in one place, making the information more accessible for students and families. This resulted in Pitt’s expanded use of Flywire’s solutions. With Flywire’s full solutions suite implemented, the SFS team is now able to streamline the entire billing and payment process, seamlessly unifying the current and past-due account lifecycle.

Pitt also utilizes Flywire’s automated communication hub to optimize the payment and collections process. This hub enables Pitt to deliver automated, university-branded billing and payment messages via email and text messages to increase collections and payment plan enrollment. Communication messaging and cadence can be customized by user type to drive the desired action.

Pitt’s payment plans are flexible and can be set up to meet specific institution and student enrollment needs. For example, budget-to-actual payment plans allow Pitt to open plan enrollment early, enabling students to begin paying sooner in smaller, more affordable installments. Students in collections also have the flexibility to choose their autopay date and payment options based on either a monthly budget amount or a fixed number of installments. Payment plans automatically rebalance when student account balances change. This helps to ensure all balances are paid-in-full by the final installment.

Visibility drives action. By integrating directly with Pitt’s PeopleSoft instance in real time, Pitt is able to leverage PeopleSoft functionality to make financial hold and to-do lists visible to students and authorized users so students can resolve outstanding issues more independently and efficiently.

Flywire’s solutions also help staff manage payment plan default by actively engaging students with automated communications when they miss or default on an installment. It also provides reporting on students the system anticipates will default, enabling staff to proactively reach out and adjust plans to better meet specific financial needs.

Flywire case study upitt


Secure processing: Thousands of payments in 39 currencies across 73 countries
Increased efficiency: 30% fewer inbound calls and more time to help families that need assistance
Self-service options: 50% increased payment plan enrollment
Faster resolution: 20% past-due account balances paid 30 days earlier
Improved cash flow: Resulting from earlier payment

The benefits to Pitt staff and students are significant. After implementation of Flywire's solutions, SFS call volumes immediately dropped 30% as students and families were able to find the information they needed to take action on their student account on any desktop or mobile device. In addition, using the automated communication hub to engage students with a standardized approach sooner in the process continually reduces the number of accounts sent to collections. This is key to improving cash flow and keeping students enrolled, a primary goal for the University.

Additionally, Flywire’s automated payment plan posting to PeopleSoft eliminates manual processing to help Pitt’s staff work more efficiently to save time and resources. By offering self-service payment plan options to students and their families, Flywire's collection management solution helps reduce inbound call and email volumes related to past-due accounts by 40%. Fewer accounts in collections also enable staff to focus on priority accounts that need personalized assistance.

We are delighted with our Flywire implementation and have seen a remarkable decrease in student and parent contact with our office as a result. Our service staff now has more time to spend assisting families who really need our help!

Carolyn KaikakaDirector, Operations Student Financial Services
Director, Operations Student Financial Services