In recent times, we have seen the online education market rapidly expand, whether that be through online educators increasing their range of courses, or education facilities moving to an online learning model.
The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly played a significant role as workplaces close their doors and taking up education as a positive pastime is promoted while people stay indoors. Under these circumstances, the opportunity to be productive and upskill is being pursued by many, or if already studying, interest has spiked in continuing education remotely.
If you’re one of the many education businesses operating during this time, or you’re just finalising your online learning courses, you’ll need to consider how students are prepared to pay for your products and services amid such uncertainty.
You could choose to collect fees upfront, but this may limit the ability for some people to pay, especially if they are feeling anxious about their financial situation or are currently facing financial hardship. Payment plans to ‘pay off’ courses and recurring debits to ‘pay as you study’ are great solutions to collect course fees in smaller amounts over a period time, making it more manageable for students.
So, how can offering flexible payment options help your business to thrive online?
Make it easier for students to manage payments
Education is a significant investment and many students may find it difficult to manage their expenses if they are required to pay up front. Quite often you will find that students will postpone other expenses or limit themselves to a tight budget to make ends meet when paying course fees. By splitting course fees into smaller, regular payments you are making it much easier for students to pay their fees and manage their own cash flow. For shorter courses, it is still acceptable and sometimes even expected to be able to pay it off in one go, so offering both options to students can be very beneficial.
The same applies for online learning, especially in the current economy. With a large number of jobs affected as a result of the pandemic, many people are looking to upskill to prepare for gainful employment in the future. Smaller payments in these situations are more manageable, especially if they are relying on financial assistance and don’t have the money available to pay upfront.
Increase new enrolments and encourage the uptake of courses
With the introduction of more flexible payment options comes the added benefit of increased accessibility for new enrolments. Many potential students may have been interested in completing a course you offer but found themselves limited by their ability to finance it.
Offering payment plans or regular ongoing debits for continued learning will allow you to cater for these students, encouraging the uptake of new enrolments. Similarly, by offering flexible payment options using a variety of payment methods, you can further improve accessibility for students. Providing payment options such as bank direct debit, debit card and credit card will ensure that you are catering to as many students as possible. With the right payment provider, you may also be able to accept international card payments, thereby increasing your ability to serve overseas enrolments.
Keep track of payments through your billing solution or Student Management System
There are many ways that you can manage and track your incoming payments. From simple spreadsheets to more advanced accounting software - the option you choose depends on the needs of your business.
Many recurring payment solutions will automatically display upcoming, paid and missed payments within their dashboard and on individual student records. This allows you to easily check the payment status of your students to make sure they are up to date before providing access to ongoing classes.
If you use a Student Management System (SMS), you may find that they are integrated with a payments solution so that you can easily track payments all in the one place. This will save you time and greatly reduce the amount of manual work required to reconcile student accounts and update their records.
Integrated solutions to support online education
Ezypay has been working with a range of SMS providers to improve their ability to support online educators. By delivering the best payment experience possible, Ezypay helps to simplify the payment collection process and improving accessibility to courses.
For the foreseeable future, online learning is the way forward to provide accessible education and opportunities to upskill. Payment plans and recurring debit options can greatly support your online learning platform by making tuition affordable and easy to pay for - providing more accessibility to your classes and simplifying your internal processes when it comes to tracking and managing incoming payments.
Ezypay’s support teams are happy to share advice on how to get the most out of your billing service during this time and can assist you with any changes to your account. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re looking to introduce flexible payment options to your online learning platform, get in touch with us today to see how we can support your online education delivery goals. Find out more here.