Agenda Item No. V. B. 1. c.

Washburn University Board of Regents





SUBJECT: Purchase of Touchnet Student Accounts Solutions



BACKGROUND:



At the September 28, 2001 Board of Regents meeting, the Board approved the purchase and implementation of SCT Banner software and related third-party software. One of the third-party vendor products approved was the Touchnet Payment Gateway. The Payment Gateway allows students to pay bills online via credit card or webcheck, and is used to consolidate the administration of campus-wide payments processes through a central operations center. The Touchnet Payment Gateway product has been successfully implemented and was fully operational for Fall Semester 2004.



The Touchnet Payment Gateway is one module of the Touchnet Commerce Management Systems solution which also includes Student Accounts Solutions, Cashiering Solution, and Marketplace Solution. Washburn would like to enhance and expand the services available to students by adding Touchnet's Student Accounts Solutions module which will integrate with the Payment Gateway and the SCT Banner Finance, Accounts Receivable, and Student modules.



DESCRIPTION:



By using the Touchnet Student Accounts solution, Washburn can replace a manual and paper-intensive student billing process with electronic bill presentment and payments. Student bills can be automated using electronic payments, online information access, and real-time updates of student records. Tools will be added to streamline the administration of students' installment payments for tuition and fees, with installment payments becoming a standard part of the electronic billing and payment process. In addition, Washburn will be able to automate not only student billing, but also the distribution of student refunds.



The Touchnet Student Accounts solution offers the University a web-based, "hands-free" system for presenting student bills, managing payment plans, accepting online bill payments, and distributing student refunds.



The Student Accounts solution interfaces with the Payment Gateway to process online, electronic payments and eliminate the need for paper checks. Students maintain their profiles online, making changes to account information simple and expedient. Information is entered once and used by multiple applications. Students can enter their own bank information, set up direct draws from credit cards, checking or savings accounts, or have disbursements go back to their accounts. Students are also able to grant restricted access to parents, guardians, employers, or other third parties for the purpose of paying University bills. Authorized third-party users have access to the student's bill, but maintain separate user names and passwords. Authorized users are able to make payments, review previous billing information, schedule payments, and store payment methods.



Washburn has offered students installment plans for a number of years; however, currently, the notification and coordination of student billing activities is very labor-intensive. The Student Accounts solution replaces the manual effort with a sophisticated messaging system that creates announcements, notifications, reminders, and follow-ups to students and authorized third-parties via email.



For Fall Semester 2004, Washburn approved 1,669 "6U" installment plans, which split tuition and fees for six or more credit hours into three installment payments, after an initial down payment of 25%; 243 "3-5" installment plans, which split payment for three to five credit hours into a down payment and one additional payment; and 471 installment plans through request from Financial Aid for students whose financial aid was not ready in time for fee payment, or who were in verification with Financial Aid.



Even though Washburn has offered installment plans for a number of years, no fee or interest has ever been charged to the student. The administration proposes a $30.00 installment plan fee which will be automatically added to the student's account. In addition, the administration proposes increasing the late payment fee from $10 per payment to $25 per payment. Based on implementing these fees, Washburn can pay for the Student Accounts Solution in less than a year.



FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS:



None. Cost of Touchnet Student Accounts Solution will be offset by implementation of a $30.00 installment plan fee that will automatically be added to the student's account. At an estimated 2,000 plans per semester and 750 in the summer session, at $30 per plan, the University would realize a total of $142,500. This additional revenue will cover the cost of the software and implementation during year 1 of $104,378, which includes the first year maintenance of $12,478. Annual maintenance costs will be budgeted each year in the AIS budget and will be offset by a portion of the $30.00 installment plan fee.



RECOMMENDATION:



President Farley recommends the Board of Regents approve the purchase and implementation of Touchnet Student Accounts Solution at a cost of $104,378, and the implementation of a $30.00 installment plan fee and a $25.00 late fee to be effective Fall Semester 2005.





__________________________

Date Jerry Farley, President


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