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April 9, 2020

Flywire report reveals international students want preferred tuition payment method

By Evie Rusman

New research has revealed that 67% of international students are concerned they cannot use their tuition payment method of choice at UK universities.

The report, carried out by payments company Flywire, was based on a survey of international students from China, India, Indonesia, Nigeria and Vietnam. It suggested a correlation between the recruitment of students and a positive tuition payment experience.

Sharon Butler, EVP, Global Education at Flywire, said: “If universities want to attract more international students, then they must take action and work with fintech partners to improve the payment process.

“Universities need to ensure the whole payment journey is as smooth as possible. That means being digital-first and ideally embedded within the university’s website. This can all be accomplished by using the right payment partners. Nevertheless, it is essential to provide a seamless payment journey. It helps to build a positive brand image amongst international student audiences.”

Key findings 

The report outlined that payments experience influences how a university is perceived – 81% of international students said they were concerned about their tuition payment not being embedded within a university’s website.

In addition, 67% of students held a negative view of a university after a poor payments experience. As a result, nearly half admitted they would advise peers against the school.

Abi Shearsmith, Head of Finance & Programme Business Lead at University of Leeds, said: “Now, more than ever, the Government and individual universities must do all that we can to attract and welcome international students to the UK.

“Given the level of tuition fees being charged across the sector, students often expect to be treated as “customers”. Paying fees is one of these areas.

Students are also worried about security and transparency. Over half (53%) were concerned about the security of tuition payments.

Transparency also ranked highly – 70% of students expressed concern over their inability to track payment status in real-time.

Shearsmith added: “For most international students the payer experience begins long before they set foot on our university campus. So it’s vital that we provide a secure and easily navigated payment service.”

Lastly, 86% of students wanted to use a preferred payment method for tuition payments. That preferred method varied greatly depending on home market.

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