One of the 50 largest public universities in the United States, Wayne State University has deep roots in Detroit, Michigan and in developing the world’s creators and leaders. In 1868, with the brutalities of the Civil War battlefield fresh in their minds, five physicians founded Detroit Medical College, the predecessor to Wayne State’s School of Medicine. By 1933, the campus had grown to include colleges in medicine, education, liberal arts, pharmacy, engineering and a graduate school.
Today, Wayne State’s 200-acre campus boasts 13 schools and colleges, and offers more than 350 different degrees spanning professional certificates to M.D. and MBA programs. Nearly 24,000 students (who call themselves Warriors) come to study at Wayne State from 70 different countries.
Wayne State University at a glance
Collecting on past-due tuition payments is painfully manual
Like every college and university, Wayne State has a process for collecting on past due tuition payments. This involves many different stages that encourage and give students time to pay in full, enroll in payment plans, or risk being referred to debt collectors.
When Saarah Shakeel arrived at the university in 2021 as the Associate Director of Student Accounts Receivables, she expected the past-due tuition collection process to be similar to how it was in her previous role at another major private university – extremely manual, time-consuming and downright painful. As a former collection specialist, she was used to writing up hundreds of individual payment arrangements, tracking when and if payments had been made against them in a spreadsheet, and being frustrated by lacking real-time data or visibility into whether any of it was working.
At Wayne State, there was one big difference: the university had implemented Flywire’s past-due collections offering.
I loved it right off the bat. I called my previous boss and said, ‘You have to get this functionality over there.’
Early Flywire international payments user eager for more functionality
After using Flywire’s flagship international payments solution for almost a decade, Wayne State implemented its collections offering in 2019. Flywire’s past-due receivables technology enables the institution to automate, streamline and track collector actions. It also automates communications to help students to set up a convenient payment plan and make payments.
Everything from the implementation and ongoing support to early results have been positive. Fewer payments systems help ease administration on the back-end, and provide a smoother payment experience for students and families.
Students in default drop below 50%, university collects millions with Flywire
The early return on investment from Flywire’s collections offering has been strong. More than 55% of students who had fallen behind on tuition payments are now in good standing, enabling the university to significantly increase cash flow by collecting $5.94 million since 2019 in past-due tuition. This includes $1.9 million since the beginning of the 2022-2023 academic year.
Furthermore, the team estimates Flywire is helping it save $205,668 per year on collection costs, and $1.7 million in total since implementation. The institution currently has 350 active payment plans, and estimates it’s rolling out 500-600 per term as a result of three campaigns a year.
Flywire is easy to use for both staff and students. With Flywire handling payment plan maintenance and automating past-due bill communication, internal collectors are now able to spend time getting people back on track with their payments. This ultimately helps to keep more students enrolled. In addition, the collections dashboard provides real-time visibility into payment statuses and allows the university to analyze areas that are working and those that need improvement.
We wanted to be able to consolidate all of these components into one integrated solution. There are a lot of companies out there that want to offer themselves as a pre-collect, but they don’t already have an existing, integrated solution with the schools. No one was able to really match the innovation Flywire provides, especially as it relates to the collections process. Now we can focus on the hard outreach while we rely on Flywire's automated technology to focus on plan administration and our communication campaigns.