Non Payment Of School Fees
Unfortunately, many private schools throughout the UK are recording an increasing number of unpaid school fees.
For financial directors and bursars in private schools, this trend of ‘non payment of school fees’ represents a concerning shift, with many institutes at greater risk.
Alongside the global Covid-19 pandemic, private schools and academies across the nation are turning to more effective methods of collecting on unpaid tuition fees.
Unpaid School Fees
Like any other business. Independent and Private Schools face the challenge of ‘bad payers’.
There are many reasons why parents may not pay their children’s private school fees, including common reasons like a divorce or a disagreement, and in more recent times reasons related to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Each case should be considered, but every school should have a robust process in place to prevent debt.
When matters escalate and a parent is, unfortunately, refusing to pay, what are the options available?
Non Payment Of Private School Fees – What Should You Do?
When a private school fee has not been paid, there are several options available to the bursars or finance teams tasked with collecting the debt.
Generally, most private schools have in-house collection methods, which when followed are effective in solving most matters.
There are, exceptions to this, and at this point, the best course of action is to reach out to a professional debt collection agency.
A debt recovery agency has the expertise and lawful means to recover a debt in the most expedient and professional manner possible.
When considering this option, it is important to find an agency regulated by an official accreditor, such as the FCA or CSA.
Frontline Collections, a leading UK debt collection agency specialising in private debt collection was recently awarded the ‘Gold Preferred Supplier’ award by the Independent Schools Association (ISA).
Whilst there are many debt collection companies to choose from, opting to instruct one with specialist accreditations is critical.
These types of agencies will conduct themselves in the utmost professional manner, the benefit of this being that the school’s relationship with the debtor is not damaged in any way.
Steps To Resolve A Non Payment Of School Fees
As previously mentioned, most private schools in the UK should have a robust credit-control process in place. Many will find themselves in the position of needing to recover unpaid school fees at some point.
We asked our team of expert debt collectors for advice on a few basic steps which private schools can do to manage an unpaid fee, and they offered a few options.
1. Document Everything
Keeping good records is an essential best-practice for most business elements, but within the scope of recovering a debt, it is critical.
If there are written copies of all correspondence and agreements with a parent, then this can be referenced later on if any disputes arise.
2. Write a Letter
The first type of action that a school might choose to take is to send a letter to a non paying parent. This should of course be polite in tone and should highlight the issue at hand. The evidence of any agreements made should also be cited, so that clarity is maintained.
It is usually best to allow a reasonable period of 30 days to allow the parent to respond, whilst also taking into account the amount of time it is estimated for the letter to have been delivered.
3. Engage with the debtor
If you have sent a letter and the unpaid school fee is still unresolved, then it’s usually a good idea to speak with the debtor. The best way to do this is via email, as the correspondence is written down.
It is important to remain professional and polite, whilst being firm on your goal of recovering the money.
It is especially vital that the conversation does not become argumentative. Any damage to future business opportunities with the parent should not be compromised.
4. Contact A Debt Collection Agency
If you have followed the previous steps and the non payment of a school fee is still an issue, it is best to contact a professional debt collection agency.
Whilst this may seem premature at this stage, it will actually save you a lot of time which you could use for more value-based activities instead of chasing debt.
Recovering a Non Payment of School Fees – Instruct A Debt Collection Agency
The most expedient and cost-effective method for any private school to recover an unpaid school fee is to instruct a debt collection agency to recover the debt on your behalf.
For help with this, speak with Federal Management’s expert team of debt collectors today.