Nelnet partners with Western Union Business Solutions for International Payment Plans

In Brief:

  • Nelnet Campus Commerce and Western Union Business Solutions have partnered up to offer International Payment Plans

  • Giving your international students multiple payment options can be an attractive recruitment tool and can help increase enrollment and retention

  • International Payment Plans have features like monthly invoice reminders and payment activity reporting

Blog Post

During the 2021 CampusConnect Users Conference Nelnet Campus Commerce presented a webinar on International Payment Plans and our partnership with Western Union Business Solutions. Nelnet’s Brandee Williams, Product Manager Student Accounts, hosted this webinar with Western Union guest Andy Benkis, Senior Manager National Accounts and Education.

Trends in International Student Enrollment

For the last several decades there has been a steady increase in international student enrollment which has led to an estimated 1.2 million international students enrolled in higher education institutions. For the 2019-2020 academic year, this number accounted for almost 6 percent of total enrollment; however, due to previous government policies and then the pandemic, international student enrollment dropped 16 percent for the 2020-2021 academic year. Despite this, “there is good news on the horizon!” Williams shared. With access to COVID vaccinations made widely available, and new polices from the Biden administration, the path for international students to attend US colleges and universities may be made easier in the near future.

As policy changes such as the lifting of travel bans on certain countries where enrollments had begun to rise prior to the bans having been implemented, as well as the elimination of stifling restrictions on student visas and renewals, Williams said this should equate to an overall increase in new student enrollment and help stabilize the number of returning international students. With the potential for enrollment growth, there has been a focus on providing new opportunities for these students. These opportunities include easing restrictions for online learning options, customizing degree programs, and expanding optional practical training for these F-1 students.

Now is the time for your institution to set its sights on international students for enrollment, degree programs, and post-graduate opportunities. While this may bring about the need to accommodate students and their families abroad when it comes to financing college expenses, Nelnet Campus Commerce is here to help. We work with a number of international payment providers and our partnership with Western Union Business Solutions allows us to offer International Payment Plans.

International Payment Plans with Western Union

Nelnet Campus Commerce has been in a partnership with Western Union for international payment processing for several years. They’ve taken a number of steps to ensure the security of international payment transactions and compliance. With a growing global payment network that includes 130+ currencies and 200+ countries and territories, they’re able to address all major international student groups at your institutions, making them an ideal partner for us and you.

Our partnership with Western Union includes integrating international payment options within our payment platforms to allow students and their families the ability to pay tuition and fee-related expenses using their home currency. “The Nelnet integration with Western Union tracks payments from initiated to delivered, including real-time posting of the payments once remitted to the institution,” Williams explained.

COVID-19 had a tremendous impact on the international payments market. This led to an increased demand to more automated exchanges and international payment options – and Western Union was one step ahead. They focused on adding more in-country auto-transfer options along with new credit card processing relationships to meet the new demands. As institutions were sharing their concerns about how the pandemic would be detrimental to international student enrollment and tuition payments, Nelnet Campus Commerce recognized the need and reached out to Western Union to partner on a payment plan offering to help meet the needs of our clients and the higher education market space.

Features of International Payment Plans with Western Union

Features of International Payment Plans with Western Union

  • Self-service online enrollment
  • Limited to international students only
  • Option for international or domestic plans
  • Immediate down payment options
  • Monthly invoice reminder
  • Up to six payments for term-based plans
  • Real-time integration tracking agreements
  • Payment activity reporting
  • Refunding of international payments

When it comes to institutions using International Payment Plans, Andy Benkis from Western Union shared they have many partners that use integration through Nelnet, so if your institution is one of those existing partners, accessing the option for these payment plans is simple. And if you’re not a partner? Western Union makes is easy to join as all that is required is filling out forms on the Western Union website. Once complete, Western Union will provide Nelnet with all the necessary information.

We’re proud of our partnership with Western Union and our ability to offer this integrated solution which assists institutions in managing international and domestic transfers more efficiently. International students won’t just be able to set up a payment plans – they’ll be able to securely make payments using their local currency and they’ll have access to our fully-staffed customer service team if they ever need a helping hand. With International Payment Plans, you’re giving your students options and helping keep them enrolled all the while your institution stays a step ahead of the competition.

Learn more about our partnership with Western Union Business Solutions

Learn more about our Payment Plan options

Brandee Williams
Author: Brandee Williams

Brandee Williams manages the development of NBS Payment Plan and Refunds products. This includes performing constant market analysis, requirements gathering and documentation, business reviews, release planning, testing, training, and product documentation. She regularly attends industry conferences and presents about industry updates and with partners (both clients and partner organizations). Brandee is certified in Pragmatic Marketing Product Management and Energy Leadership Program.

View all posts by Brandee Williams