The Impact of Coronavirus on our Education Clients

This is the second in a series of posts in our Payments As Usual series on the Coronavirus.

As the Coronavirus situation continues to evolve, education institutions are being impacted as much as any sector. To help contain the spread of the virus, many of our education clients around the world have temporarily discontinued or limited on-campus classes and gatherings, closed non-essential dormitories and dining halls, and moved some portion of their curriculum online. It’s a big adjustment for all involved – students and their parents/families, educators and those who serve educational clients like Flywire.

The crisis has also created a lot of questions regarding plans and commitments for the 2020-21 school year. What will the impact be on student acceptance rates? How will it affect international enrollments? If the crisis extends into the summer months, will it dictate additional student cancellations or deferrals?

Flywire understands how disruptive this is for our education partners and is here to help by providing:

  • Payment continuity: the digital foundation of our payment infrastructure provides complete transparency in the event of questions about cancellations and refunds. And our global payment network protects against severe disruption to the flow of payments.
  • Around-the-clock multilingual support: our customer success team is available to help institutions, students and families address any questions regarding the payment process.
  • Expert advice: many of the members of our education team have academia and education industry backgrounds. They, alongside dedicated relationship managers, are available to counsel and help navigate situations regardless of complexity. Additionally, Flywire partners with an active channel of agents who offer in-country expertise to parents, students and universities and facilitate their interactions and engagements.

Related to that last point, we have been in close contact with our education clients over the last month and continue to field a number of pressing questions. We wanted to share this knowledge with you below, including some of the tactics schools are employing to maintain enrollment and student engagement. As the situation continues to evolve, we’ll update this content with additional information:

What kind of impact does Flywire expect from coronavirus?

We’re monitoring the situation very closely, of course. While we expect some fluctuations during a situation like this, our education business remains healthy and continues to grow. Our primary focus is on the health and safety of our Flywire colleagues and the clients we serve, and we’re doing everything we can to support their needs.

Will a potential decline in students crossing borders to study hurt Flywire’s business?

Not meaningfully. Flywire powers the payment platforms for many schools and universities all over the world who’ve been at the forefront of offering innovative solutions like remote learning. While international student flows and the mechanism by which education is administered may change, we suspect that our solutions will be as relevant as ever. For example, if our education partners continue to leverage virtual learning well into the next academic year as we suspect they might, students will be less reliant on opening US bank accounts and more dependent on services like ours that offer a secure, seamless payment method from their home country. While change is apparent, the constant is that Flywire will continue to enable payments as usual for our customers throughout this uncertain time.

The Impact of Coronavirus on our Education Clients

With student mobility limited for international students, will universities suffer?

It’s too early to say, but some of our clients are not waiting around to find out. A few are offering courses in-country via local educational partners like Aceware, Kaplan and Shorelight.

Many are also diversifying their international student recruiting strategies and the use of third-party education agents is becoming more popular worldwide. Schools expect to see a decline in students coming from high-demand source markets like China, Japan and Korea so they are increasing recruiting efforts in emerging markets like India, and countries in Southeast Asia and Latin America.

How are Flywire’s education clients working to keep students engaged?

As mentioned above, the biggest trend is the shift to more online learning to help contain the virus. This is forcing many institutions to invest more in this part of their curriculum. While virtual classrooms have been selectively available for major universities, the current situation is making online learning more mainstream. As a result, we expect many schools will continue investing in their online curriculum and infrastructure after the crisis subsides.

How will the shift to remote working for university administrators affect the utilization of Flywire?

As university staff adapt to the new reality of working outside the office, there may be instances where they lack critical access to key financial systems. However, Flywire’s digital infrastructure ensures that our clients and their payers continue to operate without friction or disruption. Our clients are accustomed to being able to access our financial software solution from anywhere, at any time. Flywire was purpose-built to provide universities with a resilient, redundant solution that helps students future proof their tuition payments and this situation is no exception.

Where can I get the most up-to-date information about the pandemic?

Flywire suggests staying up on advisories from your local and regional health departments and governmental authorities as well as visiting the following online resources for up-to-date information:
Johns Hopkins Global Tracker

Check back here for more information in the coming days and weeks.