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Smart Tuition

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1.2 out of 5, based on 36 ratings and
37 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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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

Replies
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

Replies
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

Replies
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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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
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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