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Smart Tuition

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1.3 out of 5, based on 58 ratings and
59 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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Fees Above All Else
StarStarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 2/51

NARRAGANSETT, RHODE ISLAND -- I mailed a check to them 14 days before the due date. Luckily, I check the account the day before the payment was due and they had not received the check, so I double paid, and talked to a customer service representative and gave them my checking account information. The day after the payment due date, the original check was processed. I mail about 10 checks a month to pay all kinds of businesses. Every other business I mail checks to take 3-4 days to process checks not 14 days. Strike one.

Then I made a payment by check again but made the mistake of using the payment by phone system and did not talk to a person. After the due date I got a notification that my bill had not been paid and was charged a $40 late fee. I called and was told they had no payment. I checked my bank account and got a bank verification that the money had been paid to Smart Tuition.

I called back and was told, “You applied the money to the wrong account.” Account numbers don't change year to year there is only one account number. After several questions the customer service representative acknowledged it was their system that automatically applied the money to the wrong account. He said the phone system applied the money to the 2016-2017 account not the 2017-2018. I find that explanation dubious. According to his explanation the phone system automatically misapplies payments if you have been with Smart Tuition over one year. Strike two.

Here is a quote from the email Smart Tuition sent after they corrected the situation, "Resolution: In this instance, the failed payment fee has been absorbed on your behalf." They are doing me a favor by not charging me the $40 fee for their mistake. The reason they are assigning blame to me, is that if there is a problem in the future the will say, "We forgave the $40 fee once already and we can't do it again." Strike three.

What I would have liked is an email saying, "We apologize for not applying your payment correctly and that we did not fix the problem the first time you called. We are in the process of updating our phone payment system so this error doesn't happen again. Of course we have reversed the $40 late payment charge as it was our error that caused the payment to be misapplied."

Moving forward, I would like Smart Tuition to process payments by mail within days not weeks and to have their phone system correctly apply payments, if this really was the problem. Errors and slowness on their part result in them making more money. Many parents are super busy and I am sure Smart Tuition's deception results in significant late fee revenue for the company. If your school forces you to use Smart Tuition you have to watch them very closely.

Company Response 02/20/2018:

I apologize for any inconvenience that you had with Smart Tuition. I would like to speak with you about your Smart Tuition account. I wasn't able to locate your account from any of the information that you provided. Please email me at parentadvocate@smarttuition.com so that I can look into your situation. I would need your Smart Tuition Family ID and a phone number to contact you.

Kind regards,

Jim Lozano
Director of Parent Experience
Smart Tuition

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Ineffective Customer Service
StarStarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 2/51

WOODBRIDGE, NEW JERSEY -- I simply wanted a year end statement for the tuition I paid in calendar year 2017. I received one for the tuition paid in calendar year 2016. The statement had the school tax ID and ONLY the amount paid in 2016. I wanted it for tax purposes. Well, it's February 2018 and time for taxes for 2017. I was looking for a statement exactly like the one I used the year prior. The only answer I was given as to why I couldn't get one was that another statement would not be generated.

The only explanation was that there was only one statement per account per school year. That is somewhat understandable (not really, but okay). However, the school year didn't end in 2016, it ended in 2017 and I paid tuition in 2017 and I simply would like a statement with the amount I paid in 2017. Instead, the answer I got was combine the documents and it will have all the information you need.

I don't understand how such a simple request is met with that type of resistance. Why skip 2017 as if it didn't happen? If, for whatever reason, someone thought that a parent or guardian should have a year end statement, which covers a calendar year, at the end of one calendar year, then why not give them one for the following calendar year if that person used Smart Tuition to pay. It just doesn't make sense... at all. Again, there was no explanation for the policy. It's too easy to generate a document like that, not just for me, but for anyone who needs it. I wasn't asking anyone to move mountains.

Company Response 02/12/2018:

I apologize for the confusion. The tax information would normally be available on our website for the next year however the student withdrew and the account was deactivated in Smart Tuition. In these types of situations, parents should be able to go to the school to get this information if their account was deactivated.

I have emailed you and called you to send you the document you requested. Please contact me at your earliest convenience.

Kind regards,

Jim Lozano
Director of Parent Experience
Smart Tuition

Replies
Facts Is Much Better Than Smart Tuition
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

PHOENIX, ARIZONA -- Our son's school changed from FACTS Management to Smart Tuition and I absolutely despise this company. WORST decision his school could have made. They are the worst when it comes to the inconvenience of selecting a due date to pay your bill. Some of us get paid different days in the month. I cannot always make my payment on the day that you require especially when it takes you several times longer than FACTS to process a payment. (Not my fault as a parent or consumer yet I'm penalized and charged ridiculous fees). This place makes me want to find a school.

Company Response 08/08/2018:

I apologize for any frustration that you experienced with Smart Tuition. Every school with Smart Tuition determines their own due dates which may vary from school to school. Your school has multiple due dates as an option to make a payment. Currently your due date is the 30th of each month which is the latest date they offer. You can make payments any time before that if that date doesn't fit with your payroll dates.

Smart Tuition also offers many different payment methods that are more efficient than mailing a payment. In reviewing your account, I see that you have been making your payments directly to the school for the last 2 years. The automatic debit on your account has an expired debit card on file so I will switch you over to emailed invoices. If you would like to update your payment method please contact us at 1-888-868-8828 or email me at parentadvocate@smarttuition.com.

I would also like to point out that we waived the follow up fee on 8/1/18 when you called our call center as a one time courtesy.

If you have any additional questions, please let us know.

Kind regards,

Jim Lozano
Director of Parent Experience
Smart Tuition

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Horrid!
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

WOODBRIDGE, PENNSYLVANIA -- When I phoned and told Smart Tuition that the day they wanted to take money out of my account would not work they quickly called the parochial school office and complained. We received a threatening email from the school claiming we refused to pay our bills. Customer service has been incredibly rude. When I asked to speak with a supervisor to stop the harassing phone calls I was told that the school had to first be called.

The harassing calls have never stopped. Another supervisor documented that we were paying a significant amount by credit card. I never stated that. We assumed our tax return would arrive quickly. My child's school accused us of lying. Later, we found out that you can pay the school by check or money order. Smart Tuition told us we absolutely could not.

Company Response 06/12/2018:

I apologize for any inconvenience that you experienced however I could not identify a Smart Tuition account from the email address that you provided.

Regarding our follow-up service. Smart Tuition follows up with parents that have a remaining balance due with 1 email and 1 phone call per week. The phone call is a reminder about the balance due and offers parents an option to press 1 if they would like to speak with an agent.

If you would like me to review your account, contact me directly at 856-446-7366.

Kind regards,

Jim Lozano
Director of Parent Experience
Smart Tuition

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Failure To Deposit Check Before Due Date
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

I sent two checks in the same envelope - one for the current academic year (a small amount), and a second large check for the next academic year (very large amount). The first check was not "due" - just to replenish spending account for miscellaneous expenses. Smart Tuition processed the first check and credited it to the WRONG academic year. It cleared my bank account on 5/4. They did not process the five figure check, which was due on 5/5.

As a result, they will inevitably mark the payment as "late" and charge a late fee as they have done twice in the past. I have never made a payment late. However, twice already, they have held my checks until the next business day after payment was due, and then charged a late fee. Clearly they received both checks since both were in the same envelope. My story is similar to others that you read here.

Company Response 05/10/2018:

I apologize for inconvenience that was caused by depositing both checks into your 18-19 school account. Once we were notified of the issue, we transferred the smaller check to the correct year after we confirmed the transfer with the school. Neither of the Smart Tuition accounts were charged a late fee. In these types of situations, we would have waived the late fees however neither account was ever charged a late fee.

Kind regards,

Jim Lozano
Director of Parent Experience
Smart Tuition

Replies
Fees Way Too High! Customer Service Was No Help Either!
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA -- I feel like I'm the only one using this service. I see parents making their payments at the office but not with Smart Tuition. Maybe because their late fees are way too high! $65.00 dollars is a lot when compared to other late fees services. What's worse is that they will not reverse the fees unless you make a partial payment. I have never been late and when a situation comes they will only meet you half way.

Now I see why the other parents pay at the office. I don't blame them. After my experience today I will never use Smart Tuition again. I'm going to tell all my friends and family members never to use Smart Tuition. Shame on them for charging such a high late fees on working Parents.

Company Response 04/18/2018:

I apologize for any inconvenience you may have had with Smart Tuition. The follow-up fee amounts are set at the beginning of each year between the school and Smart Tuition. The follow-up fees will only be assessed to your account if the payment is not received on or before the due date. In your situation, the first payment was made after the due date which generated a follow up fee balance. We have removed both follow-up fees as a one-time courtesy. Please make sure to make your future web payments on or before the due date each month.

Kind regards,

Jim Lozano
Director of Parent Experience
Smart Tuition

Replies
Log on Difficulty and Late Cashing Checks
StarStarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 2/51

NEW YORK, CALIFORNIA -- I'm not sure why every month I mail my check 10-14 days prior to the deadline and it takes this long for this company to cash it. All of my other bills clear prior to Smart Tuition. Now I need to access my log on information and it says I'm "already registered" under the email. I enter to change my password, but it "can't find" me when I entered my family ID. How is this possible?

Now, of course I've been on hold with customer service almost 15 minutes. Hold times are incredibly long with this company. If you enter your email address and your family ID you should be able to reset your password, and I'm unable to because they "can't locate me" but says "I'm already registered." This makes no sense.

Company Response 03/02/2018:

I apologize for any frustration that you are experiencing with Smart Tuition. If you are experiencing long hold times, please consider using our callback feature in the future. I have left a message for you to call me back at the phone number that we have on file.

Kind regards,

Jim Lozano
Director of Parent Experience
Smart Tuition

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

In trying to help a parent with financial aid questions, I was left on hold with Smart Financial Aid for 40 mins, asked for a callback and never got one. After an hour I called back and was on hold for an additional 1 hour, at which time I was disconnected. The excuse of "our call volume is higher than normal" is unacceptable. YOU ARE A FINANCIAL AID SERVICE - your call volume is obviously going to be high this time of year. After asking to speak to a supervisor three different times, I was told that no one was available. I was told I would receive a call back from a supervisor and am still waiting for that call...

My recommendation to my school's board of directors will be to discontinue our relationship with Smart Tuition and Smart Financial Aid. As the Business Manager of the school, asking parents to wait on hold for those lengths of time is not acceptable. And, as a Business Manager, not being able to speak to a supervisor is unacceptable business practice.

Company Response 02/26/2018:

I sincerely apologize for the frustration you are experiencing. I wasn't able to locate your account from any of the information that you provided. Please email me at parentadvocate@smarttuition.com so I may be able to help you resolve this situation. I would need your Smart Aid Application ID and the best phone number to reach you.

Kind Regards,
Nichole Kuhne
Smart Tuition

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One of the Worst Customer Services Experienced
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS -- About 2 years ago, our school switched from a pretty good, free private financial service to Smart Tuition. The company started with charging a $50 annual fee on each account, each school year, which is already upsetting. To worse off, when I need assistance like logging in on their website (followed instructions, tried everything but not working), I called their 1-888 number about 5-6 times today (a normal, non-holiday weekday), on hold forever, and no one ever picked up the phone.

I did receive an email response on the same day, which gave the repeated information of how to log in on the website - if I didn't try everything to log in and failed, I won't call. It's completely useless. The company absolutely overcharges fees, and provides horrible customer services. I hope the school stops working with this company next year.

Company Response 01/26/2018:

Thank you for being a Smart Tuition parent for the past 2 years. I apologize that you are having trouble logging into your Smart Tuition account. I left a message for you to call me back on your primary phone number.

Smart Tuition has a onetime fee each year of $50 for your school which is in line with all other tuition management companies. That is the only charge that we have charged your account the past 2 years.

I apologize for any hold times that you experienced. We are in the process of hiring additional call center employees. I would recommend using our callback feature during the day if you are experiencing any hold times.

Kind regards,

Jim Lozano
Director of Parent Experience
Smart Tuition

Replies
Unable to Provide Proper Documents for Tax Filing
StarStarStarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 3/51 - Consumer improved rating by 2 stars

WOODBRIDGE, NEW JERSEY -- I have to submit a year end family tuition statement to a pre-tax childcare reimbursement account of my employer. Every year since 2015 this pdf file was available by the end of December on the website, but now the 2017 end of year statement is not there, not even in January 2018.

When I called the company the person who answered a phone had no clue what I was asking for and after talking to her supervisor she told me that it will be available in a "couple of weeks". They know that this file is required for tax filing purposes and I do not see why it takes "a couple of weeks" to produce it when all the information is in the account and every year in the past they were able to provide this by January 1.

Resolution Update 01/19/2018:

thank you. In previous years this was available on Jan 1-2. But, it would have been useful if the person answering the phone actually knows what this document is and states ~January 15 instead of a vague "several weeks"

Company Response 01/18/2018:

I apologize for any frustration that you may have experienced. The year-end tax statement links were added to the parent website on 1/15/18. The explanation for this is that we have to wait until all transactions from December have settled and cleared or else the year-end statements will not be accurate.

The year-end statements should be available when you log into your Smart Tuition account unless the school has requested to not display the link at this time. I cannot identify your account to check the status of the year-end statements because your Family ID was not provided. Please call me at 856-446-7366 if you do not see the link available when you log into your Smart Tuition account and I will investigate further.

Kind regards,

Jim Lozano
Director of Parent Experience
Smart Tuition

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