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Smart Tuition

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1.2 out of 5, based on 26 ratings and
27 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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Unwarranted Late Fees
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

WOODBRIDGE, NEW JERSEY -- Similar to many of the reviews on this site over the years, it seems Smart Tuition has done nothing to address their on-going payment posting issue and aggressive application of late fees. I received an invoice for my son's tuition which was due on Saturday, Aug 15. I programmed through Bank of America's bill payment system that I have used without issue for over 10 years, for the total amount to be paid on Friday, August 14. By 8 am on Monday, AM Aug 17th Smart Tuition sent an email telling me that payment was not received and a late fee of $40 had been charged.

I called to inquire about the late fee and was notified that there is no grace period - the payment must be received by the due date. I asked to talk to a manager who explained that it typically takes 5 to 7 days to post payment and payments must be posted by the due date. As they do not receive payments electronically from any banks at this time, customers must pay their bills 5-7 days ahead of the due date for them to be applied before the due date. I expressed surprise that Smart Tuition expects customers to pay tuition a week ahead of the due date to offset the manual posting process -- he said this is their policy.

I asked if they had opened the mail from Friday and Saturday and were sure that they did not have my check - he said they most definitely had not checked all the mail yet. I suggested they hold off imposing fees and sending missed payment notices until they had opened the mail and posted all the payments from the due date. He said he would take that suggestion to his management. After reading this site it is clear this suggestion has been made and ignored for years now.

This only amplifies my negative impression of Smart Tuition from last year when they imposed late fees prior to issuing me a bill for my son's tuition. I called several times, requesting where to send the payment and was told to wait until an invoice was issued. The school had to intervene in order to get the late fee reversed. I think this is a great service for the private schools, but very poorly and unethically administered for the families.

Company Response 08/18/2015:

I apologize for any frustration you are experiencing with online bill pay. At this time, online bill pay checks are mailed to us and not sent electronically. The USPS advises Smart Tuition to advise our parents to allow 7-10 days for delivery. We have many other options to pay on time with Smart Tuition that do not depend on transit times for the mail. You can pay through our website at parent.smarttuition.com or over the phone at 1-888-868-8828 24 hours a day. There is no fee to make a payment unless you use a credit card. We also offer ACH auto debits, Pay Near Me, and some schools even accept payments in house. If you would like to discuss this with me please email me your contact information and I will contact you directly. I can also review the delivery times to make sure they were between the 7-10 days that the post office suggests. In the future, we hope to offer an electronic payment feature for online bill payments. Thank you for your feedback and I look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,

Jim Lozano
Director of Parent Experience
Smart Tuition

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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.

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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

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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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Holding Checks and Stating Check Failed
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

NEW JERSEY -- I received a double bill from Smart Tuition. Although I have proof that check was cashed and stamped by their bank, Smart Tuition is stating to me check failed. I went back to my bank which is Police and Fire Credit Union and they asked me who I was dealing with? Because their bank withdrew the money and the person I talked to doesn't know what they are saying. Now I'm getting late fees etc despite me sending copy of cashed check to accounts manager. I go to the school and they say "I don't know why they are saying this but obviously the check cleared". You call the person who handles my son's school from Smart Tuition, and you get a call operator (different) every time.

They make you go through the whole identification process, tell them the whole story and then they tell you "sorry but we can't give out the number or email to the representative who handles your son's school." They email the person and that person will call you back but you don't know when. I have been dealing with this for 3 weeks and getting nowhere.

I was forced to contact an attorney who will now handle my case. I also contacted Archdiocese to report such wrongdoing. I have paid 15 years of catholic tuition to 3 different schools and never had one issue nor did I ever bounce a check. We get sent to this company and it's a complete mess. I will continue to go up the chain until problem is solved.

Company Response 09/17/2015:

My name is Jim Lozano and I am the Director of Parent Experience with Smart Tuition. I apologize for any frustration that you experienced. Typically, our process is for the call center representative to escalate an issue that hasn't been resolved to a Team Lead. If our Team Lead is not able to resolve your issue, they would escalate the matter to me. Please contact me at parentadvocate@smarttuition.com and give me your Family ID so that I can look into your situation.

Best regards,

Jim Lozano
Director of Parent Experience
Smart Tuition

Replies
Inappropriate Fees
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY -- I have issues with Smart Tuition for years of private school but here's another great example of their continued inappropriate fees. Problems all started with a robocall.... isn't it great to receive an automated call to tell you there are problems with your account when there really isn't.

I called the number and they said that I hadn't paid an amount for an additional fee that was added to my account by the school for A/P Testing fees. But this amount had never been added as a line item to an invoice. So I was not billed this amount and not given a chance to make a payment within 30 days. But I was automatically billed a follow-up fee.

The invoice that came a week later had both the A/P testing fee and follow-up fee on the same invoice. When I called they were quick to remove the fee but how many people don't call and just pay the fee if they are having trouble paying their bills. This is completely inappropriate and I am trying to figure out if there is some law that they broke but I am struggling with that since it's just a casual relationship between them, me and my school.

The numerous examples of inappropriate charging on these websites is evidence of a corrupt business praying on people struggling to pay for an education for their kids. I am reaching out to my school and asking them to begin a process of looking at other providers because Smart Tuition does not deserve to have our business.

Company Response 04/27/2015:

I would first like to apologize for any frustration you are experiencing with Smart Tuition. I remember speaking with you on 4/21/15 in order to resolve this issue with your account and the other families that you mentioned on your post. In your situation, the A/P Testing fee was added after the original invoice generated. After the fee was added by the school, we sent you a revised invoice. In this situation, timing is everything. We apologize that you said you did not have enough time to review your bill. We do not suggest schools add fees after the invoices are generated 20 days before your next due date. Since you were in the last month of invoicing, the school had no other choice but to add the fee to the last month. We reviewed the other families in your situation and waived their late fee unless they had a past due balance or actually paid the amount on time. We have been in contact with your school and they are aware of what happened on your account.

Please feel free to contact me directly at parentadvocate@smarttuition.com if you have any additional questions or concerns. I will be happy to help you.

Jim Lozano
Smart Tuition
Director of Parent Experience

Replies
Mailed Checks and Late Fees
StarStarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 2/51

WOODBRIDGE, NEW JERSEY -- I have many complaints. One: Their insane late fees; $55. This isn't a credit card. It's tuition for a local Catholic school. I found out that the late fee is split between them and the school. Second: You can't schedule automatic payments through their web interface. You have to log on each month and make your payment.

Third: I pay all my bills online through my bank. Smart tuition is supposedly a finance based company but doesn't have mechanisms for direct payment from a bank. A check is still mailed to them from my bank. A check ended up getting their late and now I'm in a fight over $55. Fourth: Every school year we are charged a setup fee for using their service even though we don't have the option to opt out.

Company Response 03/27/2015:

Thank you for posting your concerns. We at Smart Tuition use these comments as a learning experience for our company.

Late fees can be avoided by paying on or before your due date each month.

Smart Tuition also offers the ability to update or add ACH payments to your account when you log into your account. The option is in Edit My Profile under My Payment Accounts.

At this time, banks mail out checks to Smart Tuition by regular mail when you use online bill payment with your bank. We are looking into accepting ACH's payments from your bank via online bill pay in the future. Smart Tuition offers a variety of payment options for parents. We offer automatic debit, phone payments, web payments, wires, and payments by check. We also accept cash payments at 7-eleven and Ace Cash Express. Families that choose to mail in checks or use online bill pay with their banks are subject to transit times in the mail. Online bill payments are generally sent form banks in the form of a check regular mail to Smart Tuition. The transit times may take anywhere between 7-10 days for Smart Tuition to receive the payment.

Smart Tuition does have a 1 time admin fee per year. Smart Tuition provides great value to both schools and parents. For schools, Smart significantly reduces the administrative work involved in collecting tuition. This reduction in workload frees up busy staff to address other priorities and allows school leaders to focus on educating children. Many schools reached out to Smart in response to parent requests for modern payment methods, including online payments, payments by phone and a secure way to allow families to schedule one-time and recurring payments from both bank accounts and credit cards. More than one-third of all phone calls come in to Smart's Customer Service team after 6 p.m. local time for the family calling. Those are hours that school staffs are rarely available or, if they are available, it is at great personal sacrifice. Schools and parents appreciate that Smart's always-available Customer Service eliminates the phone tag game as busy parents and administrators attempt to connect with one another. For schools that collect fees outside of tuition, Smart's ability to centrally bill these and collect them concentrates the handling of funds in one, secure, auditable place. And by improving tuition collection, Smart helps keep tuition costs lower by reducing uncollected amounts.

Please feel free to contact me directly at parentadvocate@smarttuition.com if you have any additional questions or concerns. I will be happy to help you.

Thank you,
Jim Lozano
Director of Parent Experience
Smart Tuition

Replies
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

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

NORTHFIELD, MINNESOTA -- I have had to send checks to Smart Tuition before I ever even get the bill to avoid a late fee. I am now on my 4th issue with late fees with this company and I sent the check immediately upon receiving the bill for the new school year, 11 days prior to the due date. This is ridiculous!

Company Response 09/21/2015:

I apologize for any inconvenience. Please contact me directly so that I can pull up your account information and review what exactly is going on. I can be reached at parentadvocate@smarttuition.com. Please include your Family ID number and your phone number that I can reach you at.

Kind regards,

Jim Lozano
Director of Parent Experience
Smart Tuition

Replies
The Worst Company to Deal With
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

NJ -- Three times I have called with questions, three times I have gotten the same answer, "You need to call the school." I really do not see what's so "smart" about this company. What a waste of time.

Company Response 07/20/2015:

I apologize for any frustration that you are experiencing at this time. Please email me directly so that I can pull up all of your account information and review all of the conversations that took place. My email address is parentadvocate@smarttuition.com.

Best regards,

Jim Lozano
Director of Parent Experience.

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