Curtin University is globally-recognized for its comprehensive curriculum, high-impact research, strong industry partnerships and commitment to preparing students for jobs of the future. Taking its namesake from John Curtin, who is frequently named among Australia’s greatest prime ministers, the institution’s beginnings date back to the early 1900’s. Now, Curtin University has nine different campus locations across five countries – Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Mauritius and in Dubai, United Arab Emirates – and includes a Medical School, Graduate Business School, and Law School. It ranks in the top 1% of universities in the world in the 2022 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU).
Curtin University boasts a rich diversity of cultures in its students and staff, and a strong commitment to international engagement. More than 20% of its 50,000+ student body are international students.
Curtin University at a glance
Streamlining a frustrating manual payment process for both students and staff
As Curtin’s international student population grew in both number and diversity, the institution’s largely manual payment process couldn’t scale to keep up. Curtin received a lot of international bank transfers, or students would queue up at the school cashier’s office for hours at a time to make a manual payment or swipe their credit card. In addition to being a huge inconvenience for students, reconciling payments on Curtin’s end proved challenging. Without visibility to payment status, it was very difficult to match up each international bank transfer with the institution’s bank account statements. And once they were able to identify the student’s payment, it was often in the wrong amount because of foreign exchange (FX) rates and hidden bank fees.
“Students would understandably get upset because their payments were missing, or short, and they couldn’t get registered. For new students coming from another country, often for the first time, that could be very disconcerting,” said Jeffrey Chen, Operations Lead, Student Fees & Finance. “In addition, manually trying to reconcile each of those payments took a tremendous amount of staff time, so the finance team was less available to focus on other important tasks.”
Automates international receivables process to enable students to more easily pay in local currency with Flywire
After exploring many providers that took a one-size-fits-all approach, Curtin University turned to and implemented Flywire in 2013. The fact that Flywire was the proven and trusted choice for so many other higher education institutions and students worldwide was important to the finance team at Curtin and a key differentiator.
Flywire’s global payment network and local banking expertise empowers Curtin University to more easily serve the unique payment needs of students, for instance, from China, its largest origination market for international students.
Flywire also enables Curtin to recruit students from countries like India and Nepal, where the transfer of funds out of the country can be very complex. In addition, Flywire’s multilingual support experts are available around the clock to help students and families navigate the payment process.
“Flywire’s ability to provide around-the-clock payment support to our international students is something we just could not do. And, to navigate all the legal and banking requirements in each country makes things so easy for the students and our team,” Chen said.
When a student needs assistance with a payment-related matter, the university is not open 24/7, but Flywire has around-the-clock support in the local language. So, if a student or parent is calling from China, or India, or Korea, they can speak their local language. This is really reassuring for the students and something we could never offer on our own.
The team at Flywire is excellent. It’s great to have a dedicated relationship manager that we can always turn to. Whenever there is anything that we need, it is just an email away. They also keep us up to date on anything that might impact payments such as the Chinese New Year or Lunar New Year. We always know what to expect.
Thousands of hours and dollars saved with Flywire
With Flywire, students and families can now pay anytime online, in their preferred local currency and payment method. They know exactly what they are paying, what the foreign exchange is, and any other bank or transaction fees that might be involved. This helps ensure Curtin University receives the right amount so the students can turn their full attention to their education from the start.
Since implementing Flywire, Curtin’s finance team has saved approximately 6,700+ hours in reconciliation, refund processing and support time. The department has also saved more than $1.1 million from credit card and bank fees.
By streamlining the payment reconciliation process and making everything available on a single platform, the Student Fees and Finance team now has total visibility into all inbound payments coming through Flywire whether they are online or via bank transfer. Additionally, Flywire flags any potential fraudulent transactions so the team always knows payments are secure and safe. This not only protects students and the institution, but also provides valuable peace of mind for staff.
“As a university, our focus is on providing an excellent education,” said Chen. “We don’t want our students to have to worry about currency exchange or figuring out the right payment method. By providing a seamless payment experience, Flywire has enabled us to shift our focus from payment troubleshooting to supporting students on other important financial matters, like financial aid.”