University taps centralized business platform to boost student retention

TouchNet’s unified framework also improves security, efficiency and convenience at Mizzou
By: | Issue: November/December, 2019 | Case Study
November 26, 2019

The University of Missouri had a unique retention problem. More than 150 nonacademic line items—think school sweatshirts or event tickets—were hitting student accounts when students would charge them during the semester. Unable to pay term bills that included much more than tuition, students faced holds and fees that restricted them from enrolling for the next semester.

After a recent switch to TouchNet solutions, a majority of nonacademic charges have now been removed from the student accounts, allowing these accounts to reflect tuition/fees, room and board, and other related academic fees. The move allows families to refine budgeting for term bills, while hopefully prompting students to think twice before buying a nonessential item, says Meghan M. Carr, director of the institution’s Office of Cashiers.

“When students could freely swipe their student ID card, and charges would roll over to their student account, they weren’t really thinking of the financial impact in the long run,” Carr says. “By taking those charges off the student accounts, we’re letting students decide whether or not to make that purchase or attend that event. This process holds them more accountable.”

Multiple U.Commerce options

The university, known as Mizzou, uses the TouchNet U.Commerce platform to manage campus payments. Bill+Payment streamlines tuition- related payments and fees, and offers online billing, deposits and e-refunds. TouchNet Marketplace allows e-commerce and POS payment options for vendors and departments across campus to set up a website, sell items, register participants for an event, or provide services.

Since going live with Marketplace in July, the university has processed nearly 12,000 transactions representing almost $1 million in revenue.

‘Easy win’

Transactions are automatically updated to the general ledger, saving 20 minutes to a few hours per day for campus department staffers who used to walk deposits over to Carr’s office for processing and approval. TouchNet Ready Partner Program allows payments from different campus software systems and vendors to be processed through a central platform, while retaining visibility for the individual departments.

“The improved customer experience and the ability to streamline back-office processing have been tremendous improvements for our campus.”

“Several departments use software specific to their needs,” Carr says. “With TouchNet, we don’t have to change anything on the front end, and payments are in a secure PCI-compliant environment. It was an easy win.”

‘Tremendous improvement’

TouchNet also provides support and time savings for established e-commerce sites.

“The improved customer experience and the ability to streamline back-office processing have been tremendous improvements for our campus,” Carr says.

For more information, please visit touchnet.com


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