Wellesley College

In Brief:

  • Wellesley College is a private liberal arts university with 22,720 in enrollment.

  • Challenge: In November 2018, Wellesley College needed a payment solution that would be operational by March 2019 (in time for their summer semester). Most importantly, it needed to work with their new ERP, Workday.

  • Result: Nelnet Campus Commerce implemented a student accounts payment solution and actively managed payment plans with Workday integration in less than four months. In addition, Nelnet also helped create many new storefronts in an attempt to consolidate all of Wellesley College’s payment processing activities.

Insight type: Case Studies

Wellesley College needed a payment processor and payment plan solution — fast.

“Though we had an initial conversation with Nelnet in November after their merger with TMS (Tuition Management Systems, Wellesley’s previous provider) about transitioning our new storefronts to Nelnet, serious conversations about the student financial integrations with Workday didn’t start until February,” says Ravi Ravishanker, chief information officer of Wellesley. “We needed to go live by April or May — that’s a very, very tight timeline.”

In the span of just a few months, Nelnet Campus Commerce worked with Wellesley College and Alchemy, (Wellesley’s Workday implementation partner) to ensure that everything was in place when it needed to be.

Looking for a solution

A small institution 20 miles outside of Boston, Massachusetts, Wellesley College’s mission is to provide an excellent liberal arts education to women who will make a difference
in the world.

Wellesley had previously worked with TMS to provide online payments and payment plans on their campus. When it was announced that TMS had been acquired by Nelnet
Campus Commerce, the Wellesley team began evaluating their options. After much consideration and a meeting with Nelnet team members, they decided to transition all payment processing to Nelnet Campus Commerce (including their online storefront).

Integration with the ERP

In 2015, Wellesley College introduced Workday as their new ERP, with the option to implement the company’s student module if it was ready by 2017. Since it was deemed a viable path, Wellesley began implementing Workday Student in 2017 and needed a payment platform that would integrate with Workday.

Actively Managed Payment Plans and eStore from Nelnet Campus Commerce allowed them to provide a safe, integrated payment gateway that included real-time posting
with Workday.

The idea of implementing such a solution in the span of three to four months was daunting. But for Ravi and the Wellesley team, true partnership proved to be the anchor throughout the process.

“The people we worked with were a dream to have,” says Ravi. “Things got done — and things got done right. There were some who doubted whether we’d be able to get this done on time. But I had no doubts after talking to their technical team members.”

While Nelnet’s technology solved Wellesley’s problems, Nelnet’s people made the experience quick, effective, and as painless as possible.

Working as a team

Everything needed to go right to ensure that timelines were met. Everyone — Wellesley, Nelnet, and Alchemy — worked incredibly hard to make that possible.

“I have a very good team on my side. All three parties (Nelnet, Wellesley, and Alchemy) were always on calls with each other. There was a very solid plan for what the deliverables were, what the schedule was, etc. Frequent calls to touch base and have a common understanding was key to this success,” says Ravi.

Complete, comprehensive training

Once the solutions were implemented, it was important to ensure that everyone on the Wellesley team felt confident using the new platforms.

During and after implementation, Nelnet associates began to train institution staff members, giving them the tools and knowledge needed to make the solutions as effective
as possible.

Whenever the Wellesley staff had questions and needed answers fast, Nelnet Campus Commerce was there to help. “I get instant responses from Laurie (Wellesley’s customer relationship manager) — unless she’s driving in the snow,” Ravi says, with a slight smirk. Working with Nelnet Campus Commerce is fantastic.

Nelnet made sure everything was up and running and everyone was empowered to do their job effectively.

Delivering on promises

In the end, Wellesley’s goals were met. On July 1, 2019, they were ready for students to set up payment plans and make tuition payments — just in time for the new academic year. When it comes to implementation, growing pains are almost inevitable. Given the short timeline, Wellesley College was pleasantly surprised at how smooth the implementation was — and how effective the solutions have been so far.

Ravi Ravishanker

Ravi Ravishanker, Chief Information Officer, Wellesley College