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Smart Tuition

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1.3 out of 5, based on 29 ratings and
30 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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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.

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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

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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
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
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

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