Help Students Stay Enrolled with International Payment Plans

In Brief:

  • The pandemic changed the educational plans for many international students compared to their domestic counterparts

  • International students are looking for specific criteria when deciding on a school in the U.S.

  • Offering International Payment Plans can give your students affordable payment options while enrolled at your institution

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Even in the best of times, recruiting students for your higher education institution can be challenging. Adding in a world-wide pandemic complicates things even further. Though enrollment numbers were slightly up for graduate programs among higher education institutions for the 2020-2021 school year, a new report from EAB found the pandemic changed the educational plans of nearly 60 percent of international students who planned to pursue graduate studies in the United States. This change was in part to international travel restrictions, difficulties completing admissions requirements, and the inability to afford the education they came to pursue. So, what can be done to help attract and retain international students?

Attracting International Students to Your Institution

International students are looking at specific criteria when deciding on a school in the U.S. According to Studyportals, some things they are looking for are top ranked universities, diversity in fields of study or groundbreaking research, an engaging campus life, and help finding a successful career after graduation. Along with this, these incoming international students are looking for a global experience in addition to a high-quality education.

When trying to attract international students, Higher Education Today recommends a few strategies to keep in mind:

  • Actively recruiting international students from a diverse number of countries, not relying on a single country or region.
  • Offering specialized programs that boost employability are likely to attract international students who are hoping to obtain work experience in the U.S.
  • Recruiting international students already studying in U.S. high schools or community colleges is an economical avenue for recruitment than scouting new students overseas.

International Payment Plans Can Help with Student Retention

The Institute of International Education reported there were over one million international students studying at U.S. institutions in the 2019/2020 academic year. With a number like this potentially growing, it’s critical for institutions like yours to offer ways to make education more accessible and affordable for everyone. One way this can be achieved is by offering International Payment Plans from Nelnet Campus Commerce.

Not only is offering multiple payment options for international students an attractive recruitment tool, also it can make the lives of these students and their families a little easier as these payment plans can be set up using their own currency. Brandee Williams, Product Manager, Higher Ed Product Development for NCC said, “By higher ed institutions offering international payment plans, they are acknowledging the convenience of international students being able to pay their expenses using the currency of their choice and spreading their payments out over several months. It’s an interest-free way to break up payments rather than having them pay for an entire semester (or year) up front.”

Not only will these payment plans integrate with your current ERP system, they offer many benefits, including:

  • Increased affordability and access for international students
  • Enhanced enrollment strategies
  • Top-of-the-line payment security
  • Addresses retention and collections issues for international families

For our International Payment Plans, we work with a number of international payment providers and have partnered with Western Union. Our integrated solution with Western Union’s Global Pay System, along with their extensive international payment options, allows us to provide your international students and families with a choice on how to pay their tuition. “Western Union is one of the most recognized business in the international payments and money transfer industry. Their commitment to security, compliance and convenience, coupled with their innovative technology and international relationships, made them a great fit for our mission of making educational dreams possible through service and technology,” shared Williams.

Recruiting and retaining international students is a great way to help your institution’s enrollment grow. By giving international students the ability to pay tuition over time – in the currency of their choice – with International Payment Plans, you’re giving them options, keeping your institution a step ahead of the competition.

Watch our webinar Partner Insights: Western Union Business Services on-demand to learn more about international payment trends in education.

Author: Natalie Schwarz

Natalie Schwarz creates and edits internal and external communications as a Communications Specialist with Nelnet Campus Commerce. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Creative Writing and has over a decade of professional writing experience. When she’s not crafting communications, you can find Natalie enjoying the outdoors with her husband and their twin boys or scoping out an estate sale.

View all posts by Natalie Schwarz