Smart Tuition

Star Half star Empty star Empty star Empty star
1.3 out of 5, based on 15 ratings and
16 reviews & complaints.
Hi! My name is Melissa Severino and I am the Parent Advocate for Smart Tuition. Since 1988 Smart Tuition has successfully served as the financial connection between non-public K-12 schools and student families. We realize feedback is key to our continued success, which is why I encourage you to email me directly at parentadvocate@smarttuition.com. I would love to hear what you have to say and/or answer any questions you may have.

Most Popular | Newest | More Options >
More filter options:
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Not Really 24 Hour Customer Service
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
NEWARK, NEW JERSEY -- My child's private school decided in 2010-2011 to use this company for handling tuition payments. They charge a one-time fee for the initial set up as a new parent (you have no choice but to pay this) and then want to charge an additional fee for DD. Since I have the option of bill pay through my bank, I have used this service and saved the fee.

Smart tuition supposedly mails the invoices in "enough time to send payments" but I have yet received one with more than 2 day turn around time. I have auto pay set up for this since I pay the same amount each month, but Smart Tuition is notorious for having excuses to post your payments late then charge an exorbitant fee of almost $70 for late processing.

This last one was because the 15-digit family ID changed by one digit and Smart Tuition did not notify the parents that this was the case. There was a delay on THEIR END in processing the payment because one digit was off (which again let me emphasize, they did not notify us that it had changed from one year to the next) and they charged their $70 late fee. I tried calling their "24 hour customer service" 4 different times in a 2 day period, but was put on hold for more than 30 minutes each time. I tried the live chat on-line, but was told "there was no one to assist with live chat at this time" all 4 times. I was finally able to reach them by email but their response did not come in a timely fashion. By their own accord, they had received the check before the due date, but delayed processing it. When I asked that the late fee be waived because it was in my opinion their delay, they told me no, the school would have to do that.

Of course once the issue was explained to the school, they gave permission to waive the late fee and agreed that Smart Tuition had failed to post the payment in a timely manner and keep the parents informed of the change in ID numbers. The late fee was waived and I then had a negative balance. That same day, I received an automated call from Smart Tuition while I was preparing dinner stating I had an overdue balance (I didn't) and I could hold the line for a customer service representative to discuss. After waiting 10 minutes, I hung up and tried the live chat once again. After a 5 minute wait on the live chat, the customer service representative told me I did not have an overdue balance but because the calls were scheduled in the morning and not cancelled after the school waived the fee, I was interrupted.

If your school is looking to have a company handle tuition payments, I would NOT recommend the unorganized, rude SMART TUITION.
     
Read 5 RepliesAdd reply
User Replies:
mdicksonspeaks on 10/08/2012:
I have had the same experience with this company. See below:


Company is charging me $40.00 on several occasions indicating that my payment was late. My payments were sent in a more than timely manner directly from my bank in Staten Island as follows: 7/9 for 7/15, 8/7 for 8/15, 9/4 for 9/15. They show the payments being received as follows 7/16, 8/16, and 9/17. This company is collecting tuition for my son's Catholic school. All three payments late? Really? They have refused to correct the error. This is just a low rate collection agency with low rate tactics trying to scam the parents.
amom on 10/15/2012:
My daughter eceived ascholarship in August for her private school which lowered our monthly payments. Without fail every month we get an automated call to qait on the line and then the person tells us we are laate when we actually ar enot because of the scholarship. Last month we got the call an dthey said they were trying to apply the scholarship. Why does it take 3 months to do this?
Concerned Parent on 10/24/2012:
I am yet to meet a parent that is thrilled with Smart Tuition. According to their records, we haven't paid our kids' tuition this academic year (and yet they've cashed both September and October checks. Both payments were received DAYS before they were due, yet our late fees are mounting. This is my second year dealing with Smart Tuition. Great school, but I am seriously considering (like many parents I know) to put the kids in a different school. As parents we have enough entities to battle with (health insurance payment denials, scheduling, childcare etc). Spending two hours on the phone every month in order to avoid being nickel and dimed by Smart Tuition is exhausting.
SmartTuition on 03/04/2013:
Smart Tuition implements a follow up program to help get parents back on track. We deeply regret any situation that you may feel unfairly associated a fee and our weekly phone calls and emails with your account. Smart provides families a courtesy waiver to every family – and unlimited waivers if the lateness was due to a mail delay, online banking transfer (which converts to a paper check and is mailed to us – not transferred to us immediately as some may expect), medical emergency, or an error on our part. I can immediately authorize any fees waived immediately if you contact us today, to let us know.

We process checks and money orders delivered by mail Monday-Friday (excluding federal holidays). Mail is collected at our lock box five times a day to ensure payments are processed the day we receive them and are then posted to your Smart Tuition account the next business day. With over 10,000 payments processed each day, I can assure you there is a streamlined process in place. Smart Tuition would never sit on payments to cause someone to be late. In fact, the opposite is true, which is why we offer three immediate payment options (web, phone & Auto-debit). We recently launched a pay-in-person feature that instantly updates your account when you pay at 7-11 or Ace Cash locations (more than 15,000 across the country). Unfortunately, payments sent through U.S.P.S. are subject to possible delivery delays, whether it’s due to weather conditions, federal holidays, or their own internal process.

Smart Tuition waives a significant percentage of its follow-up fees – but charges them in conjunction with your schools set late fee to make sure that your school's delinquencies are kept to a minimum. As you may know, many non-public schools have been closed in the last few years – and non-payment of tuition is one of the largest contributing factors. Our intentions are good, and clearly if you had every intention of paying on time – we will always refund you that fee.



Melissa Severino
Parent Advocate
(866) 873-9772 ext 1
Email: parentadvocate@smartuition.com
Chicago mom on 01/09/2014:
This comment is not consistent with what I was told recently. I mail a check and I was told to leave TEN days for mail delivery time from chicago- not Alaska- and that checks received on any day would be posted the NEXT day. For example a check received on Monday gets posted Tuesday. I even clarified that comment with your rep to make sure I understood that a check would be in your office a day before it was credited to my account- and that interpretation was confirmed. Poor cash management impacts schools and is just unprofessional when tuition payments are not posted timely. Ridiculous.
Close commentsAdd reply
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Bogus Late Fees
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
Smart Tuition is either inept or has shady Business Practices. Since they work so hard on their internet reputation and pay for positive reviews I can only assume the later.

Here's the deal, I use Bill Pay to pay all of my bills. I have for over 10 years. I know how to use Bill Pay. I know that my payment to Smart Tuition is Due on the 5th of the month. I set my Bill Payment to have the check delivered to Smart Tuition on the 2nd of the month. But for whatever reason they post my payment late and charge me a fee. For example, my Bank delivered my check to Smart Tuition on July 2nd, they didn't post my payment until July 9th. I had my bank personally follow-up with Smart Tuition and have the late fee removed.

Smart Tuition advised that if I just used their website and gave them my Bank info than they could automatically debit my account. Well, I'm not giving my Bank info, especially to a company that I don't trust. I also don't understand why my bill payments are posting late with them. Not once in my years and years of using Bill Pay have I ever had a payment post late. Not once! And trust me, I have set the payment to be received on the due date for plenty of my bills.

So for October, I decided I would send in two payments for my child's tuition. One Payment was sent directly to the school. It was a small amount, not enough to cover the amount due. The second Payment was sent to Smart Tuition. The delivery date was set for October 2nd. Guess what happened...Well my School received the payment on 10/2 and reported the payment to Smart Tuition on 10/3. The payment was immediately credited to my account. However, the other payment, well it wasn't received until 10/8. WHY?? There is really no explanation for that except for Smart Tuition holds payments and doesn't credit them to the account timely so that they can continue to exist by profiting on late fees.

They will blame USPS, they will blame you for not setting your delivery date sooner, they will tell you to set-up an auto debit on their website. If you complain on the internet they will track you down to try to quiet you by offering to reverse the late fee. Read all the reviews on the internet. They all have the same complaints over years. They have a dedicated internet reputation scrubber (Parent advocate..yeah right) but no true and honest desire to conduct business correctly and fairly. By now they should have changed their ways.

I promise my school that made me conduct business with this parasite that if they continue this "service" next year I will thank them with my annual donation.
     
Read 1 RepliesAdd reply
User Replies:
Jim Lozano on 11/12/2014:
I am so sorry to hear about your frustration with online bill payments that were sent to Smart Tuition. My name is Jim Lozano and I am the Director of Parent Experience with Smart Tuition. I would really like the opportunity to speak to you so that we can review your account and research what happened in October. I can be reached at parentadvocate@smarttuition.com. Please provide your Smart Tuition family ID, your name, and your phone number and I will contact you directly. Once again, I apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced. I look forward to speaking with you.

Thank you,

Jim Lozano
Director of Parent Experience
Smart Tuition
Close commentsAdd reply
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Smart Tuition Stinks!
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
WOODBRIDGE, NEW JERSEY -- Wow! Consistently terrible service. I have never heard of a company that chooses to bill late payments based on checks clearing their bank. I have no control on when the check is sent to the bank. Or how long it takes a bank to 'clear' it. However, I can tell you that all of my other accounts including mortgage and major credit cards receive my payment and I have no late fees. Maybe I am just lucky with all my other accounts, however, I don't think that is the case.

I think Smart Tuition either holds payments to get a kick back every month or something to that nature. Very odd and very suspicious. I also checked out BBB and funny...they have many complaints lodged against them...like 37 complaints in the past 12 months. That's a lot! However, they cleared them so kudos on that.

Wouldn't it be better to forgo the complaints in the first place. I had heard complaints from many parents at my child's preschool, but I had only encountered it once....fast forward a year and we now get late payment charge of $30 every single month without fail. Very Frustrating and we no longer go through Smart Tuition -we go through the school and they see the craziness as well. It is not you-it's Smart Tuition. They stink to high heaven.
Company Response 01/15/2014:
Thank you for posting your concerns and I am sorry you have experienced issues with payments being delivered on time. I can assure you we do not hold on to payments. With over 10,000 checks processed daily we have a streamlined process in place to ensure payments are delivered to your child's school as soon as possible, so they can meet their financial obligations.

I would like to be able to review your account and speak with you further about your concerns. At your earliest convenience, please email me at parentadvocate@smarttuition.com.

Thank you,
Melissa Severino
Parent Advocate
Smart Tuition
     
Read 7 RepliesAdd reply
User Replies:
Smart Tuition Customer Support on 09/14/2012:
I am sorry to hear you have some concerns about how and when Smart Tuition processes payments in the mail. Without locating your Smart account, I am unable to provide you a more specific response. Please contact me directly at (866) 873-9772 ext 1 or email me at parentadvocate@smartuition.com. I would love the opportunity to speak with you directly, regarding your specific situation. In the meantime, I would like to further clarify our policies and procedures when it comes to processing payments.

Smart Tuition processes checks and money orders delivered by mail Monday-Friday (excluding federal holidays). Mail is collected at our lock box five times a day to ensure payments are processed the day we receive them and are then posted to your Smart Tuition account the next business day. With over 10,000 payments processed each day, I can assure you there is a streamlined process in place. Smart Tuition would never sit on payments to cause someone to be late. In fact, the opposite is true, which is why we offer three immediate payment options (web, phone & Auto-debit). Unfortunately, payments sent through U.S.P.S. are subject to possible delivery delays, whether it’s due to weather conditions, federal holidays, or their own internal process.

We are truly sorry your payment took so long to be delivered. Again, you can avoid possible delivery delays by making your payment by phone at (888) 868-8828; we are available 24/7, 365 days a year. You can also log into your account online at www.parent.smarttuition.com, or by setting up to pay automatically. Majority of our families choose to pay with one of the three methods, because those payments are considered paid in good faith the day they are made.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me. I would love to speak with you. Thank you – Melissa Severino, Parent Advocate with Smart Tuition
wjk898 on 09/17/2012:
The US Dept of Interior which recently self-appointed itself the collection agency for the Indian land lease fees for the Indians (who've collected those fees themselves since time immemorial - but, oh wait... I'm forgetting; it created "jobs") also do that late mailing thingee. Bill arrives by USPS about 2 days before its due date. Late fees run only about 2 bits per month but it generates a lot of paperwork (e.g., a separate mailing and I bet a separate employee to enter that late fee) - which of course is the grist that government agencies thrive on.
Janice on 08/05/2013:
Terrible. Tired of this site dipping into my account before the due date. This has caused my account to be overdrawn, will you be reimbursing me the late fee?
Bjwild on 08/24/2013:
Couldn't agree more! I have adjusted my automatic payment twice and still get hit with $50 late fees each month. Not very consumer friendly--but wait, Smart Tuition exists to serve businesses (schools), NOT consumers.
Paul on 10/17/2013:
Smart tuition has been very frustrating to work with. I mail my check a week before the due date and STILL get assessed a late fee because of their inability to process my check. I believe this is their attempt to generate additional revenue. I'm going to recommend that our organization stop using this company.
Barb on 01/14/2014:
I totally agree with you. I have never been late with tuition when we were able to pay my daughter's school directly. Now that they've switched to Smart Tuition, I've been assessed a late fee twice! As previous posters have written, I have mailed my checks 7-8 days before the due date. I call my bank and check that the check has cleared on the due date, and they have. This is money that is no longer available to me, and yet the company doesn't "post" the payment until the next day. If the check doesn't clear, then assess the late fee and an NSF fee to boot, but don't tell me that you can't post the payment until the next business day. These are shoddy business practices!
Annete on 01/23/2014:
This company never had the correct amount for my child`s tuition to be paid from the very beginning. Also had charged late fees every month. It does not take more than a week to receive payment. I agree with the individual to file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Close commentsAdd reply
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Sketchy Late Fees
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
WOODBRIDGE, NEW JERSEY -- Our very first interaction with Smart Tuition was to be mysteriously slapped with two late/bank fees (totaling $70), even though as near as I could tell, our bank account information was all correctly entered and we received advance confirmation that our payment would be automatically debited on time. Even if our account information were incorrectly entered -- and as far as I can tell, it WAS correctly entered -- it is extremely sketchy and unprofessional start off by charging fees, without any advance warning. Of course, ethics aside, this company has every incentive to charge as many late fees as possible.

These fees will theoretically be refunded, after having complained to our school, but I worry -- especially given the raft of unfavorable reviews on this page and at the BBB -- that this company's business model / modus operandi is to charge bogus late fees at the drop of a hat, without any advance warning, and without any rational explanation of why they are being charged. It's worth mentioning that our school's previous tuition processing vendor does not have anywhere near this level of complaint and suspicion on the web. Thus, I don't think this is simply a matter of a line of business that naturally attracts complaint -- rather, it looks (to me, at least) like this is an operation with genuinely questionable practices.

Unfortunately, I'm not really their customer (the school is), so all I can do is complain to my school and to impress upon them that having a scummy parasite insinuated into their value chain reflects poorly on them.

I would also encourage other schools doing due diligence on Smart Tuition to tread carefully. My kid's school didn't bother to do a simple Google or BBB search (which, again, reflects poorly on them), but if you are a school and reading this, you are already miles ahead for taking the 5 minutes to look for signs of trouble with the company on the web.
     
Read 2 RepliesAdd reply
User Replies:
clutzycook on 05/10/2014:
Yeah, they are pretty sketchy with the late fees, although they do say that you need to allow at least 2 business days for processing. I've avoided this problem so far by paying the bill at least a week before the due date.
David on 06/03/2014:
A month later and they slap us with yet another bogus fee. They claim that because the first payment didn't go through, they automatically took us off of auto-payment. They claim that we were notified of this, but I went back through all of their emails and can find no record of this. Another call to customer service and they waived the fee again, but my guess is that they get significant revenue from people who either can't be bothered, or who can be brow-beaten into believing that this nonsense is their fault. Super sketchy company.
Close commentsAdd reply
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Gouging On Late Fees
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
WOODBRIDGE, NEW JERSEY -- [snip] Having dealt with may online payment solutions, I am appalled that their website does not offer automatic scheduling of online payments, when this technology is widely available in most other sites that process payments (Verizon, Amex, all banks). You cannot even schedule a payment several days or a week in advance, it has to be done right at the time when you want to make the payment (1-2 days in advance).

[snip] If I have 10 payments to make in a year, they have 10 chances to get me with a late fee because there is a chance I may forget or may be out on vacation on one of those 10 occasions when I am supposed to make the payment.

And they pride themselves for helping schools and parents alike. Absolutely despicable.
     
Read 1 RepliesAdd reply
User Replies:
clutzycook on 03/17/2014:
My kid's school uses Smart Tuition too and I was a little dismayed that they don't have an easy way to make a payment online (you can pay online, but for a "convenince fee"). What I do is I pay it through my bank's online bill pay and I set it up to go through several days before its due. If the payment is due on the 10th (it's the same date every month), I try to get it there no later than the 5th or 6th. As for trying to remember to pay it, I could set up recurring payments through my bank, but what I do is set up a recurring reminder on my smartphone's calendar to start reminding me at least 10 days before that the bill is coming due.
Close commentsAdd reply
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Unethical Billing Practices - Late Fee Assessment
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
NEWARK, NEW JERSEY -- I've been dealing with Smart Tuition for five years now. Every year, I will get two late fee assessments. I don't, and never have made a late payment. I pay all my bills by schedule on-line and haven't received or paid a late fee in 10+ years. I get various reasons from ST: the check was delivered late, we go by when we post it not when we receive it, a holiday only allowed us 2 days for processing, etc. None of these reasons are reasons to charge me a late fee for a check delivered on the 1st. And I no longer believe the check was late story because none of my other creditors has this problem. Smart Tuition, however, has had this problem for 5 years in a row!

If you press back hard enough, they will "forgive" the late fees. And I do mean forgive - they are doing you a favor - they are not and have never admitted to being in error.Even when we are both looking at bank records showing a posting on the 5th! It is a huge waste of time: getting bank records, calling, and call-backs, arguing, etc.Horrible way to start a day.

UPDATE: I see they have a parent advocate on this site. By all means, use that service. But please, also lodge your complaint here and at the BBB until they actually change their business practices. And as of 01/12/2014, I assure you they are up to their same poor billing practices again this year. Same as it ever was.
Company Response :
Smart Tuition takes this matter very seriously. If there is any way you can show a payment mailed before the 1st - we will immediately refund any and all fees and provide $50 towards your tuition payments in each of those months. Please contact me at (866) 873-9772 ext 1 or email me at parentadvocate@smarttuition.com. Thanks – Melissa Severino
     
Read 4 RepliesAdd reply
User Replies:
clutzycook on 01/13/2014:
I've noticed that they take their sweet time posting payments to your account. I've read complaints about them for a number of years
MR. KNOW IT ALL on 02/15/2014:
checks have to be sent out 7-10 business days PRIOR to due date... mail in payment option is not very convinient, not all parent have the money ready 7-10 days before the due date, I would recommend use the on line or phone payment option, is much faster and easier, and payments on line or phone are posted that same day as soon as youre done making the payment. it will only take 1-3 business days for the money to be taken out of bank account but posted to the Smart Tuition account that day. don't use mail in system, I switched and it has worked for me.
Dan Meyers on 03/23/2014:
Mr. Know It All, this is the advice I get from from Smart Tuition. My response is, no, I won't do either of those things: send in my payment a week early, or use their on-line system. The reason is because I use Quicken Bill Pay for budgeting and tax preparation. So I am sticking with this major on-line bill paying system. Now, why won't I send in my payment a week early. Because there is not one other company, that I have ever dealt with, that has a problem caching a check and tried to stick me with the bill. Not one. Ever. Only ST. And they are in the finance business for goodness sake! Can't cash a check on time - give me a break. So nope, I'm not doing either of those things. Not my problem they can't cash a check in a timely matter and I am absolutely not paying a late fee because of it.

More importantly, their process is wrong. They should mark the bill as paid when the check is received, not cashed. Then if the check is NSF, they have a legitimate claim. This is standard operating procedure for every legitimate company. This is really my complaint with ST - their process is incorrect at best and designed to garner late fees from people who do not know what reasonable and customary bill payment is.
Dan Meyers on 03/23/2014:
Response to the company response.

To resolve this ongoing issue here is what ST needs to do:

Start posting in each payee's account when payments are received, and when they are cashed.

There are many people here and on other sites, all complaining of the same issue. So, collect data by adjusting your internal processes as suggested above. Talk to Quicken Bill Pay - a peer in financing about this issue. Call and/or email people who have called/emailed ST and complained of this problem. Then go figure out how to improve your process, implement the process change, and you will have fixed the problem.

Offering rewards or suggesting people send in their checks a week early is not a credible solution. This is clearly a long-standing issue at ST. As a customer advocate, you should not be offering rewards, you should be doing the above work. This will fix the problem for the customers you represent.
Close commentsAdd reply
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Shady
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
This company is the shadiest company EVER and I wish my kids school would change. They never sent me a bill or email telling me how much my FIRST payment was so then I get charged a late fee. THEN I pay over the phone with my routing number that a representative took down only to find out the biggest bank in America..BofA doesn't accept this program. SHADY. So I get charged another $25. So then I tell them that the $35 is their fault because I never received communication and so is the $25 because no one told me it was possible for BofA not to accept payment to them and I get told my dispute will take 7-10 business days..this is crazy!!! I just want to scream. SHADY.
Resolution Update 01/03/2014:
Melissa (parent advocate) from Smart Tuition resolved my issues above beautifully. She did her research and handled the matter very professionally. If you are having any problems with Smart Tuition I urge you to contact her. She seems to genuinely care about how parents feel and are using the system. Thank you Melissa!
Company Response :
Your concerns are taken seriously and I am sorry you have recently not had a pleasant experience. Bank of America accepts thousands of payments from us every day, so I am going to need to review your account details in order to better understand the situation to figure out what happened. I have sent you an email directly with my contact information. Please contact me at your earliest convenience.
     
Add reply
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Another Complaint For Their Customer Service Or Lack Thereof
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
WOODBRIDGE, NEW JERSEY -- I chose to send in my checks to them since I prefer to use my banking online service through my bank. In all my years of banking online, I've never had an issue with payments not received or received late by the agency I send it to. After reading many other complaints on this site, it seems that I am not alone. Smart Tuition "received" (aka. processed) my payment one business day late. For this, they charged me a late fee of $85. I called to dispute this and got very insufficient service from them. I called on 9/21/12 and the agent told me that I needed to fax them a copy of my bank statement showing the payment and when it was sent (not sure how this is considered legitimate evidence, and if you're the customer should I be the one to do all the leg work? Well, I did comply with their process. I also called my bank to verify the payment sent date (which was a week before the payment should have been received). I called them back later that day to verify that they received the fax, to which the woman on the line just told me that I needed to wait for a response back. They never called me and never took off the $85 late fee even though they received my "late" check funds and took off that balance. I called them again today *10 days* later to say that I am still disputing the $85 charge, and by 2 weeks later, I was still waiting to hear back from an account manager who needs to review the issue. They told me that I need to wait another 7-10 business days. I finally had to go to the school Finance Director and *she* handled it and removed the late payment. Wait... what did we partner with Smart Tuition for if we are doing all the work? Unacceptable.

I'm not sure why our school chose to use Smart Tuition, but I am very dissatisfied that we have to use their service. Seems that I am not the only parent who is dissatisfied because a survey was sent out recently to all parents asking for their input on this service. Hopefully we will discontinue working with them. If you are a school, or looking for this type of service, find another one to partner with. Smart Tuition is obviously lacking to the opinion of many parents.
Company Response 05/22/2013:
Hi Jtcposts,

I recently left you a message to follow up with your concerns. I am truly sorry you did not have a pleasant experience. We pride ourselves on providing excellent customer service, so I would love the opportunity to speak with you further, when it is convenient for you. Please feel free to email me directly at parentadvocate@smarttuition.com.

Thanks,

Melissa Severino
     
Read 2 RepliesAdd reply
User Replies:
Dave on 05/10/2013:
Our Child's school started using them last year in San Diego. The worst customer service I have ever experienced. They are trying to charge us extra for using our credit card (I believe it's illegal to charge the customer the merchant/exchange fee in CA and or NJ) and tell us that the school has instructed them not to accept Visa which the school has denied. After I called to complain they said a Sprvsr would call me back in 7-10 business days, today (30 days later!) I received a call from a rep telling me that the school made the decision not to accept VISA. The School Directory told us that she had make no such decision.
Really poor service and I hope our school stops working with them.
Dave W. on 07/12/2013:
Totally agree
Close commentsAdd reply
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Shady business practice
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
WOODBRIDGE, NEW JERSEY -- Last month Smarth Tuition charged me a series of late fees. According to their records they never received my check. This is the first time in 20 years of paying private school tuition I was late. I immediately paid by debit card, and was charged a 2.5% fee (on an $800 bill)? Really? Then a $50.00 late fee. Really? My wife and I have credit scores above 800. Who do you think an objective third party would side within this situation?

In order to avoid paying another late fee, on Tuesday, September 25, I submitted my payment using the routing slip on my check. Of course, their convenient way of not posting until two business days later (what that's about I don't know, but smacks of unethical if not illegal behavior) left me hanging until Friday September 28, when I discover the payment has not yet been recorded. When I call their office I get an answering machine? Really? I'm guessing they were hoping that I would not notice, and then after October 1 I would be late again. Of course I could have paid by Debit Card immediately, but I would be charged another 2.5%? Really? I also find it interesting that this month I was sent a bill for the $50.00 late fee, but no new bill, and would have been late if I would not have noticed.

I've been in law enforcement for 30 years, and I feel like I'm dealing with a loan shark.

Company Response 10/02/2012:

Thank you for bringing your concerns to our attention. Upon reviewing your account, I would like to speak to you in more detail. Please call me at (866) 873-9772 ext 1. In the meantime, I am going to clarify Smart Tuition’s policies and procedures.

Your child’s school along with our other 2,500 schools has partnered with Smart Tuition to assist with the workload involved in collecting tuition payments from over 250,000 families nationwide. Private schools rely heavily on the timely receipt of payments in order to meet their financial obligations that keep the school up and running. Every school has different needs, so Smart Tuition works with each school in determining the policies that works best. In addition, we assist in providing flexible payment method options that can assist parents in making payments. The use of credit/debit card is only another option of making a payment. We also offer our parents the ability to mail in a check/money order, or to pay by phone or web using their checking or savings account. From your post it sounds like the credit card you used was linked to a checking account. If that is the case, I would highly suggest you pay using your checking or savings account in order to avoid the convenience fee associated with credit/debit card transactions.

I would also like to further clarify that Smart Tuition does not assess multiple follow up fees in a month. A follow up fee is only assessed if the account has an outstanding balance by the due date. The only other situation where a fee would be assessed is if a payment was unsuccessful, in which case a $25 bank fee would be applied. Payments made by phone or web are considered paid the day they are made (by 11:59 pm EST) in good faith. Should the payment turn out to be unsuccessful, then a follow up fee would be assessed as a result of the account balance not being paid. With over 250,000 families it is impossible to manually apply follow up fees, so the process is automated; however, if ever a payment is shown to Smart Tuition to be inaccurately assessed a follow up fee; we will immediately remove the fee. Even if a concerted effort was made but the fee was assessed without being the fault of the tuition payer, we immediately work with the school to remove the fee. We are on your side and I would hope you can call me to get these fees removed immediately."

I hope my above response has helped clarify our policies and procedures surrounding your concerns. Again, I would like you to contact me directly so I can review your account with you. Melissa Severino – Parent Advocate- Smart Tuition – (866) 873-9772 ext 1 or email me at parentadvocate@smarttuition.com.
     
Read 3 RepliesAdd reply
User Replies:
saj6280 on 10/02/2012:
You need to file a complaint immediately with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). While I am not usually in favor of additional government agencies, this one seems to be serious in assisting consumers with financial issues, and if your post is correct, you have a legitimate complaint.
mdicksonspeaks on 10/08/2012:
Company is charging me $40.00 on several occasions indicating that my payment was late. My payments were sent in a more than timely manner directly from my bank in Staten Island as follows: 7/9 for 7/15, 8/7 for 8/15, 9/4 for 9/15. They show the payments being received as follows 7/16, 8/16, and 9/17. This company is collecting tuition for my son's Catholic school. All three payments late? Really? They have refused to correct the error. This is just a low rate collection agency with low rate tactics trying to scam the parents.
dave on 05/10/2013:
I believe charging a "convenience fee" for using your credit card is nothing more than charging the customer for their merchant/interchange fee, which I believe is illegal in NJ and CA.
Close commentsAdd reply
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Late Fees
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
NEW YORK -- After four phone calls in less than 2 years with Smart Tuition, I find their practice of charging late fees absolutely ridiculous. I am glad I read so many similar reviews. My experience today was no different. An invoice sent on 8/31 and received by me on 9/5 states the balance is due on 9/5. I am disheartened at the rude customer service received during my phone call. I anticipate seeing a late fee attached to my next bill, despite being told I would not. The error was clearly not mine, yet I was spoken to as though I was a customer who disregarded bills and due dates, which is absolutely not the case.

I am disappointed in the lack of customer service, and blatant misuse of late fees by this company. It was so awful last year, a newsletter was sent out to our entire school, "advising" parents to send payments the day they are received due to the overwhelming parent complaints on receiving late fees. How disconcerting. I plan to advocate to discontinue use of this company and will urge other schools to follow suit. It obviously has significant flaws that need to be addressed in order to practice fair business. Shame on Smart Tuition.
Company Response 09/10/2014:
Hi Eric -I am really sorry for any frustration we have caused you. We take your feedback and concerns very seriously, especially with regards to being treated poorly. That is something I want to address asap. I would also like to address the timing of your September invoice. We mail out invoices 18-20 days before the due date; however, any US mail delivery delays can certainly change the timing of when you receive the invoice. You certainly have the option to have your invoice emailed to you instead of being sent in the mail.

I really want to address these items, but it is going to require me to view your account. Please email me (parent advocate@smarttuition.com) at your earliest convenience. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Thank you,

Melissa Severino
Parent Advocate
Smart Tuition
     
Add reply
Top of Page | Next Page >