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Smart Tuition

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1.2 out of 5, based on 40 ratings and
41 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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Bogus Fees
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

KENTUCKY -- My school started using Smart Tuition 2 years ago and at first I hoped that it would be a convenient and cost saving system for our school. When we set up our account, we opted to do the bank draft payments online. Several months into doing the payments, we noticed a discrepancy in the amounts that were being deducted from our account. They were taking an additional 20 to 30 dollars a month out of our account each time we paid our tuition online.

There was no mention of a convenience fee or surcharge in their terms and conditions and they have yet to respond to my email about how they came up with that fee or where it says they have the right to charge such a fee. Anyway, from then on we paid by check.

The next issue came when we were assessed an outstanding late fee of 40.00 on a bill when we had paid the previous balance in full on time because supposedly the school forgot to report something to them. We contacted them and provided a statement and the check that matched the amount on the bill, and they still tried to argue with us. We eventually were able to get the late fee waived, but it took lots of time on the phone and a rather heated discussion to do it.

Most recently, I mailed a check to them for the full balance of my son's monthly tuition 7 days before the due date. They conveniently waited until the day after the check was due to cash it and tried yet again to charge me a 40.00 late fee and then they tried to say I owed an additional past due balance of 17 dollars when I paid the exact amount that was on my bill. The school was able to intercede this time and get the fee waived, but I still expect there to be a problem next month because it's always something.

I was told by our administrators that several parents who pay by check are having the same issue with Smart Tuition conveniently waiting to cash their checks and then trying to assess outrageous late fees. She also suggested that we try the online system, but then I told her about the extra money that was being drafted out of my account.

I contacted the school's accountant and she is not aware of any such fee that they are supposed to be collecting for online payments. She stated she's going to check into that. I have attempted to contact Smart Tuition to ask them to explain this fee to me, but they have not responded. Based on my previous experiences, it wouldn't surprise me in the least if they were illegally or unethically stealing money from people's accounts. My husband has been so frustrated he's actually threatened to remove my son from the school altogether. I really hope our school drops this company like a hot potato.

Company Response 03/13/2017:

I apologize for any frustration you are having with Smart Tuition. We appreciate the fact that this is now your 3rd year with Smart Tuition. In reviewing your account over the years, all of the late fees were previously waived.

We offer many different payment options for parents. Sending payments by mail is one of the options to make a payment however it is one of the slower forms of payment. The best way to make a payment is on our website or by phone using your checking or savings account. There is no fee to make a payment that way. Payments using credit cards have convenience fees. I'm sorry you might not have initially seen that credit cards have convenience fees in May of 2014. I'm showing that you stopped making credit card payments on 5/15/2015. That was the last credit card payment you made with Smart. Going forward we will work with our schools in communicating these fees and improve our website in displaying these types of fees. We are in the process now of working on a new and improved parent website.

Last month, a charge of $17 extended day charge for 1/9-1/13/17 was added onto your Smart account by the school after the invoice was generated. I have advised our account manager to speak with the school and advise them that adding fees after the invoice is generated is not one of our best practices. We did not charge your Smart Tuition account an additional fee.

If you have any other questions about your account, please contact me and I would be happy to assist.

Kind regards,

Jim Lozano
Director of Parent Experience
Smart Tuition

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Very Unprofessional and Unethical Company!
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

WOODBRIDGE, NEW JERSEY -- This Jim ** guy should be canned. Scores of extremely unhappy customers, yet the policies and culture at Smart Tuition don't change. They have received multiple payments from us, WAY ahead of due dates, yet they still post after the due date and assess exorbitant late fees. And don't expect a returned phone call or e-mail when you need assistance.

The icing on the cake with these jerks was when I called them to see why a $2000 check, that they received approximately 8 days earlier had not been deposited or posted. They claimed they had not received it (even though I found out later they had, in fact, received it, and had deposited it a day earlier).

Fearing yet another unjustified late fee, I mailed a second $2000 check, with the woman agreeing to send it back if they received both checks. Even though the first check had already been deposited, they deposited the second one, too, and of course had no invoice of mine to apply it to. They refused to mail it back to me! The Archdiocese is making a huge mistake using Smart Tuition. In many ways, the company's practices and culture run in sharp contrast to what a Catholic school education is all about!

Company Response 03/02/2017:

I apologize for any issues you may have been having with Smart Tuition. I wasn't able to verify your account with Smart Tuition. If you would like me to review what happened on your account please email me at parentadvocate@smarttuition.com with your Family ID and a telephone number so I can review what happened on your account.

Kind regards,

Jim Lozano
Director of Parent Experience
Smart Tuition

Replies
Horrible Customer Service, Unreasonable Fees
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

I am dealing with this company for 3 years now and will talk to our school to make sure that parents have alternative payment options. They are unfriendly on the phone, their website is weird (charge you extra for using credit cards, don't give options with pay date - "now" only, no option to pay on the date of your choice - very convenient for them, see next), outrageous late payment fees ($55). Misleading on the phone, no chance to talk to the supervisor if any problems with customer service representative... Do I have to continue? Just stay away from them if you can.

Company Response 02/06/2017:

Thank you for being a Smart Parent for 4 years now. I apologize you did not have a great experience with us. I have waived your late fee as a courtesy. I also wanted to let you know that we are working on a new parent website in the near future. Regarding the late fees, we work with each school to determine how much late fees should be each year. I will review the phone call from our agent and see if there are any issues with the way the call was handled.

Kind regards,

Jim Lozano
Director of Parent Experience
Smart Tuition

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Unethical and Potentially Illega Billing Practices
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

WOODBRIDGE, NEW YORK -- The problem with Smart Tuition stems from their self-admitted practice of crediting payments when they POST them instead of when they RECEIVE them. That gives them the flexibility to post a payment late, and profit from the late fees they charge. This billing practice is illegal in many states. I encourage everyone to send a letter to your states' attorney general, and to the CFPB to complain of the practice.

I've also spoken to a law firm about the possibility of getting a class certified. Stay tuned. Additionally, if your state has a Private Attorney General Act (PAGA) like California, you might be able to bring a claim against them in your state, and recover costs. Bottom line is that the practice of penalizing payers for the lax practices of the payee should never be acceptable. An ethical company would never engage in such a practice.

Company Response 12/16/2016:

Good afternoon,

I apologize for any frustration you are having with Smart Tuition. We consider your payment paid on the date we receive the payment, not when we post the payment. If you would like to contact me about your account, please contact me at parentadvocate@smarttuition.com. If you can provide your Family ID and/or phone number I will contact you at the number provided.

Sincerely,

Jim Lozano
Director of Parent Experience
Smart Tuition

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Horrible Experience Over the Last Several Year
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

MASSACHUSETTS -- Smart Tuition is a ridiculous company to deal with. Their online interface is archaic. The way they process payments is awful. They love sending out late fees. I recently mailed my payment 10 days in advance and was penalized with a late fee. They don't credit your account when they RECEIVE it...they credit you when they PROCESS it. This has happened so many times in our 6+ years of being mandated to use their service. To call it a service is ridiculous.

I tried to pay for 2 payments online (1 on time payment and a future payment) and they wanted to charge a $78 CONVENIENCE fee. So STUPID. Why are they trying to take such steep advantage of being paid electronically? I am fed up with them. I am going to seriously petition the board of our school and talk it up amongst parents to get rid of Smart Tuition.

Company Response 11/17/2016:

I apologize for any frustration you have experienced. I wasn't able to pull up your account from that email address. I would like to discuss this with you on Friday. Please email me your contact information at parentadvocate@smarttuition.com. We do accept payments from your checking or savings account with a routing number and bank account number for no fee. Either way, I would like to look at your account and discuss this further.

Sincerely,

Jim Lozano
Director of Parent Experience
Smart Tuition

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Late Fee?!
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

SCARSDALE, NEW YORK -- Received a letter in the mail from Smart Tuition to register to make payments. Couldn't register. Received failure messages of being unable to find or create account. The invoice says I can pay at 7-11 which I went to that is listed as an authorized payment location. 7-11 had no idea what I was talking about and said other mothers came for something for some reason. Continued to scramble to get the payment made. Decided to drop check in the mail.

Turns out it was received late and I accessed a $50 late fee. Called and waiting on hold for a considerable time only to be told over and over again, "Sorry, we don't waive late fees." I tried to explain how we tried multiple paths to get it paid on time especially since this was our first time and was unfamiliar with the process. No consideration was made. Horrible customer service. We will continue to provide negative reviews of this service.

Company Response 11/17/2016:

I apologize for any frustration you have experienced with Smart Tuition. I could not find an account for you under that email address. Can you please email me your contact information at parentadvocate@smarttuition.com and I will contact you on Friday to see what went wrong?

Sincerely,

Jim Lozano
Director of Parent Experience
Smart Tuition

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Can't Stand!!
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

When I called to try to get the auto draft date changed, I was told that I have to give a 3-4 day notice. Then when I asked to speak to a supervisor regarding the matter, I was asked "Why". What happen to good customer service. Well I can tell you that it is not at Smart Tuition. So when I got to really looking over the bill, I was told by my kids school that there was not a fee to pay the bill no matter which way it is set up. So now I see that I have been paying for a "convenience fee". Nothing is convenient when I have to pay my bill...

I will let my kids school know about the experience I just had, and suggest they find someone else. I plan on changing how I pay, and only pay to the school. So if your school is thinking about choosing them, then don't is what I recommend!

Company Response 10/12/2016:

I apologize for any frustration you experienced with Smart Tuition.Our representatives did advise you that the automatic debit was in process and it could not be stopped. We require 2 business days notice to stop the auto debit.The reason we need 2 business days is that we submit all auto debits the business day before so your bank has all the information is in place for the due date. Your due date is the 10th and you called on the 10th which was past the 2 days notice we need to stop the transaction. The school waived your late fee and it appears that you may have already spoken to them. I have requested our account manager for the school advise them of your situation.

If you wish to switch your payment method to a checking or savings account to avoid the credit card convenience fee, please give us a call to update that information.

I was concerned about your phone call with our agent so I reviewed it and found that it was satisfactory. I'm sorry you were upset about the fact that we could not stop the auto debit. Please feel free to contact me if you have any other concerns.

Kind regards,

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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