Belen Jesuit delivers integrated tuition experience to save time for parents and staff.
With more than 150 years of history spanning two countries, Belen Jesuit Preparatory School seeks to deliver academic and spiritual excellence for young middle- and high-school men. The school’s technology team partnered with Blackbaud to integrate its enrollment, tuition, and fund accounting processes and drive efficiencies for parents and staff alike.
Belen Jesuit Preparatory School began in Havana, Cuba, in 1854 with a mission to instill academic excellence and spiritual discipline in young men. When the Cuban government confiscated the school’s property and expelled its faculty more than 100 years later, Belen Jesuit reopened in Miami and began serving students in grades six through twelve.
Since its Florida beginnings, more than 7,500 young men have graduated from Belen Jesuit. As the school continues to evolve, its technology team looks to make both its parent experience and financial operations as seamless as possible. Through a partnership with Blackbaud, Belen Jesuit transformed its enrollment, tuition, and accounting processes. “Our CFO loves to automate reporting and have relevant offices receive monthly or on-demand reports and loves Blackbaud software for that reason,” said Director of Technology Carol Vila.
Belen Jesuit previously mailed coupon books to parents, and parents would then either mail back their tuition checks, one by one, or bring them to the school. With Blackbaud Tuition ManagementTM, Belen Jesuit not only handles nearly all payments online but eliminated nearly all paper checks.
“It definitely helped with delinquency,” said IT Support Administrator Bryan Lorenzo. In fact, Belen Jesuit saw the number of delinquent accounts drop by at least 50%. “Before, parents would have to go in and manually pay online,” Lorenzo added. “When we switched to automatic payments, it drafts to a bank account or charges to a credit card automatically.”
If a family falls behind on payments, trained Blackbaud professionals reach out to handle the debt. Not only does this functionality transition a time-consuming task from the school’s limited business hours over to a 24-hour operation—but it also removes a discomfort from the process.
“It doesn’t have to feel personal when there’s a parent in arrears with tuition,” Vila explained. “They don’t have to face the people they see at events and at school.”
One Integrated Environment
Belen Jesuit parents now fill out only one contract at the start of the school year, because Blackbaud Enrollment Management SystemTM integrates with Blackbaud Tuition Management and automatically creates an account with payment plan options. “It’s huge to not have to leave one environment to do one thing and move to another,” Vila said. “The comments we hear from parents are, ‘Now we find everything in one place.’”
Plus, the integration put an end to exporting data from the school’s enrollment management system and then uploading it into the tuition management system—or worse, manually adding it. “Every year we would have to match the payment plan to the student,” Lorenzo said. “It was back-and-forth work with imports and exports. Now, it’s a one-step process. It’s a completely hands-off experience.”
Belen Jesuit partners with Blackbaud for its fund accounting solution as well, enabling Blackbaud Tuition Management to post payments directly to the general ledger in Blackbaud Financial Edge NXT®, saving time and reducing the risk of error. “Before, everything had to be entered manually,” Lorenzo said.
Looking ahead, the school’s technology team plans to use its new-found delinquency efficiencies to drive an even more exceptional experience for Belen Jesuit families.
“One of the big goals I had was to get everything on the cloud, get rid of servers, and not have to worry about updates,” Vila said. “Blackbaud has afforded me what I needed to get there.”
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