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Smart Tuition

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1.3 out of 5, based on 31 ratings and
32 reviews & complaints.
Hello my name is Jim Lozano and I am the Director of Parent Experience for Smart Tuition. Smart Tuition serves as a financial connection between non-public K-12 schools and families. We value your feedback as a learning experience and I encourage you to reach out to me if you have any comments or concerns directly at parentadvocate@smarttuition.com. I promise to listen with an open mind and would appreciate the chance to connect with you personally.
Company Profile
Smart Tuition
10 Woodbridge Center, Suite 200
Woodbridge NJ 07095
888-868-8828 (ph)
www.smarttuition.com
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Unethical Billing Practice
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

Unfortunately, my daughter's school use Smart Tuition for all payment. I signed her up for one school program which costs only $108 on Oct 1. I was about to write a check when I did the sign-up, but the school receptionist told me that they don't accept payment at school anymore and I had to make the payment through Smart Tuition. I asked when I will receive a bill from Smart Tuition. She told me Smart Tuition will not send out a bill, but will post the amount on my account in about a week.

Guess what? In exactly one week, I received an email from Smart Tuition on Oct 8 as followed: "Your payment due on 10/1/2015 has not been received in full. As a result, a $35.00 late fee has been assessed to your account. The past due balance on your account as of 10/8/2015 is $143.00, which includes all amounts outstanding from prior months." If they are so good at sending out a late fee notice on time, why don't they send out a bill notice timely? My only explanation is that they did that on purpose just to earn the late fee. How blatant!

Company Response 10/12/2015:

I received an email from you about this on 10/8/15. The school added a fee to your account on 10/1/15 which was your due date. We have waived the late fee as a courtesy and spoken to the school about doing this in the future. I apologize for this happening to you. We do not believe fees should be added to accounts without proper notification. The school is aware of your situation and that fees should not be added to accounts without notifying families before they do so. We recommend at least 20 days notice but if that is not possible, we recommend sending out modified invoices if it is less than 20 days. The late fees are automatically added to the account if the balance is not paid.

I responded to you the same day you emailed us. If you have any further questions about your account please feel free to call me anytime.

Sincerely,

Jim Lozano
Director of Parent Experience
Smart Tuition

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Payments Methods and Fees Are Ridiculous
StarStarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 2/51

WOODBRIDGE, NEW JERSEY -- The website and payment methods available online are absolutely heinous considering it's 2016 (if it were the early 2000's I couldn't really complain but it's not). When you go to the "pay my bill" page you are given the option to enter your bank routing/account info and are told that your payment won't post the same day.

You are also told that credit card payments will post the same day but you are not provided with any option for paying with a credit card nor are you advised how you go about paying with a credit card (yes, I tried calling their number and it also asks for your bank routing/account info). Your third option for payment is to pay cash at a partner location which you are given absolutely no information on regarding posting times.

Additionally, I had to pay a $43 service fee along with my first tuition payment (which in and of itself is laughable and absurd considering the extremely limited options on their website) to use this garbage system and I can't for the life of me figure out how that money was well spent.

I'm not sure who is running this business but they need to seek out the help of someone significantly younger or smarter to figure out how to allow more expedient payment options because right now this system feels like it was designed for the sole purpose of charging people outrageous service fees for limited services and trying their hardest to screw them into paying late fees. It's certainly not out of the realm of possibilities at this point for me to research a better payment option and petition that information to the school system for future use.

Company Response 08/15/2016:

Good morning,

I apologize for any frustration you are having with Smart Tuition. Our website payments are in process the same day you make the payment on our website. Once the payment is in process it is considered paid.

Unless you are in the state of Kansas or Maine you can make a payment by credit card on our website and it also goes into process as soon as you hit submit on the payment confirmation page.

Cash payments made through 7 eleven, Family Dollar, or Ace Cash express appear same day the payment is made.

Smart Tuition provides credit card payments, cash payments, ACH auto debits, one-time payments on our website, mailed checks, money orders, wires, and some schools allow payments in school. You would have to check with your school to see if that option is available.

With all of these payment options available I would strongly disagree with you that we are trying to force parents to pay a late fee. If you have any other questions about this, please contact me at parentadvocate@smarttuition.com.

Kind regards,

Jim Lozano
Director of Parent Experience
Smart Tuition

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Frustrating, Overwhelming, From the First Negative Interaction Until Giving Up and Sticking It Out 1 More Year.
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY -- First bill and already late!!! We received our first bill yesterday - a double bill... $1248.80 haven't even stepped foot into the school yet. I have 2 weeks to pay it. Received it 8/1 due 8/15. Sure. Let me just pull that right out of **. Clearly it benefits ST to do this. With late fees on top of late fees oh or I can give up my bank account and routing # so they can just take it out. Considering administrative practices that would not be in my or anyone's best interest.

I am going to solicit meetings with the parents at our parish, then parishes close in my area and so on. Build a strong complaint with the Archdiocese to get a reputable company to handle tuition payments. I have thought about paying more to daycare to avoid you disgusting people altogether...

My principal stated how displeased she is to hear that she can no longer halt late payment fees, see some of us have to pay late or cannot attend. These fees push affordability right out the window and that's not right. Every parent I have spoken to has not had a good experience with you people and please save the BS comment that you are supposed to post at the end of this. I know, you know it **...

Company Response 08/05/2016:

I apologize for any frustration you are having with being billed later than normal. Smart Tuition has a process in place where we submit our billing to the region so they can approve all accounts and make sure the billing is correct. We are trying to work with the schools in the region to make this process more efficient.

If you wish to adjust your account so that we move the July 2015 payment to May 2016 please contact me and I will advise the account manager for the school to adjust your account. No late fees were charged to your account. My email address is parentadvocate@smarttuition.com.

Sincerely,

Jim Lozano
Director of Parent Experience
Smart Tuition

Replies
Paying Processing Fees
StarStarStarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 3/51

TEXAS -- I was charged $35 processing fee in March... now the school is charging me again cause they said I wasn't supposed to pay when I applied online in March. I called the school and they had me call Smart Aid, maybe I could get a credit. I contacted Smart Aid and the CSR told me that the school has in the computer to charge applicants $35! Oh and by the way they hadn't received my supporting document! I faxed them since March 4th! When I entered my application online I had no other option but to pay the $35 to complete the application process. So where do I get my money back from? I'm a single parent struggling to keep up so $35 is a big deal to me.

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Smart Tuition Late Fee Practices
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

NEW JERSEY -- I have been paying my school fees through Smart Tuition. I had one late payment which I requested for a waiver for the late fee. It was NOT waived and the late fees are $55. Even when I made the payment on the due date, there is a late fee charged. I did a payment before the due date, there is a late fee charged. When I asked the customer service, I was told that those fees are for not paying the late fees from October which was not waived.

Currently my late fee total is $ 220. So Smart Tuition charges $ 55 every month for not paying the original late fees. That's awesome. I will take this action seriously if my fees are not waived. I have told on the call as well but no one has offered support. I have filed my case with BBB. If I don't get a waiver, I will start working on an affidavit of declaration from more parents signed to file a case or class action suit for such malpractices in late fees.

Company Response 01/04/2016:

This issue was resolved on 12/4/15. The parent notified us through various websites that he would like his late fees waived. We have reviewed this previously with the parent and the late fees were waived.

Replies
Payments take days to post
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA -- Exactly like I read in other reviews, I made a payment directly to the school and the next day it was shown as credited on my account. A few days later I made a payment on the Smart Tuition website. Not only are they trying to charge me a $8 and something "convenience fee" but it says my payment will not post until late next week. What is the point of paying online? Isn't it supposed to be almost immediate? This company business, to my understanding, is mostly online so they charge everyone that makes a payment this $8 something fee? And then charge a late fee because they don't post the payment until days after the fact?

We are already paying Catholic School tuition which is not cheap. We pay all the other school fees, lunch fees, stationary fees, uniforms, fundraisers (mandatory), donations and anything else you can think of so why do we have to pay yet another fee for making a payment I don't look forward to making anyway. A legitimate late fee I understand but when I submit my payment almost a week before and they just decide not to post it why is that a fee imposed me?

Company Response 10/12/2015:

I apologize for any frustration you have experience with Smart Tuition. The payment you made on 9/15/15 was posted to your account on 9/15/15. There is no delay in posting these payments to your account. Phone payments and Web payments post the day you make the payments. The only charge you would receive is if you use a credit card. The fee is a 2.65% convenience fee that credit cards charge for the option of using their credit card. You can avoid this fee going forward by using your checking or savings account numbers to make a payment. If you have any additional questions about this, please feel free to call me anytime.

Sincerely,

Jim Lozano
Director of Parent Experience
Smart Tuition

Replies
Misleading Information
StarStarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 2/51

Why do I get slapped with a service fee for making a payment with my credit card over the phone or web? Isn't that an additional cost to me?

Company Response 04/14/2016:

I'm apologize for any confusion. I could not find your account by searching your email address.

If you make a payment with a credit card there is a convenience fee associated with that transaction. You can avoid convenience fees by using your checking or savings account with a routing number and a bank account number. Smart Tuition offers other payment options such as ACH auto debits, one time payment arrangements on our website or by phone. You can also make cash payments at 7 eleven, ACE cash express, or Family Dollar locations. We also accept check or money orders by mail.

When payments are made on the phone or on our website, you are notified of the convenience fee before the transaction is processed. If you do not wish to be charged a convenience fee, you can cancel the transaction and chose another payment option. If you have any further questions about this, please call me at 866-873-9772 so I can give you specific answers about your account.

Sincerely,

Jim Lozano
Director of Parent Experience
Smart Tuition

Replies
Unprofessional Service and Lack of Communication
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

WOODBRIDGE TOWNSHIP, FLORIDA -- We are EXTREMELY disappointed with their service and unprofessionalism to resolve tuition payment issues.

Company Response 02/26/2016:

I apologize for any frustration you have experienced. Can you please contact me directly to review your situation? The email provided on this message does not exist in our system. I'm available Monday through Friday 9 AM EST - 5 PM EST.

Kind regards,

Jim Lozano
Director of Parent Experience
Smart Tuition

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Late Fees
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

WOODBRIDGE, NEW JERSEY -- This is the second time in 4 months they charge me a late fee of 65$. This practice has to stop. I can't believe that the number of complaints and no one seems to do anything about it. I will write to the state's attorney in the state of NJ to open an investigation in this matter. This company is clearly scamming a lot of people with this kind of practices. SHAME ON YOU! SMART TUITION, SHAME ON YOU!

Company Response 02/04/2016:

I apologize for any frustration you are experiencing with Smart Tuition. We have waived your late fees. This can all be explained very simply. The payment method you are using is online bill pay with your bank. It's a very convenient payment method however it is not the fastest way to make a payment. When you send a payment by online bill pay, it is NOT sent electronically. The bank mails the payment by regular mail. The USPS advises us 7-10 days for delivery. We are going to start accepting payments electronically in the near future however there is not ETA. This should eliminate any transit times that cause delays in getting your payment to Smart Tuition. In the meantime, you can make one-time payments on our website, set up an ACH automatic debit from your bank account, or make cash payments at 7 Eleven, Family Dollar, or ACE Cash Express.

If you have any questions about this please call me, I would be happy to assist you.

Sincerely,

Jim Lozano
Director of Parent Experience
Smart Tuition

Replies
Bogus Late Fees
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
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 latter. 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.

Company Response 12/15/2014:

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

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