Understanding Advance Deposits – What options are available for us in Student Billing?

Mar 19, 2013

It’s that time of year when we are receiving all types of pre-payment deposits for the upcoming academic year. Here are the steps to manage those in Student Billing!

In Student Billing pre-payments are managed with Advance Deposit billing items. Advance Deposits are refundable charges that reserve a student’s place in a future school year. When full payment for the advance deposit is received a credit in the next academic year to reduce the student’s existing balance.

There are two considerations to be made when identifying how your advance deposit process will work. Do you want to just record the advance deposit when the monies are received, or do you want to bill the payers in advance? Each of these options are available in Student Billing and can even be defined record by record. For example you may want to bill in advance for brand new students but not returning students that may be paying when they submit their re-enrollment forms. Student Billing even offers embedded help topics to assist in identifying which option may work best for you.

Once you have identified your advance deposit process your next step is to start building your Advance Deposit Billing Items. These records will define the default parameters your advance deposits will follow when they are entered into Student Billing. These defaults can be changed student by student during the data entry process if necessary. You will be able to define not only the amount of the advance deposit but also the distribution schedule for the generated credits that will be added to your students records in the upcoming academic year. Restrictions can be defined so these credits are only applied to specific charges on the student account, giving you the flexibility to operate in either an open item or balance forward format. The system also offers you the ability to identify how you want this activity to post to the General Ledger. These transactions can either be posted as liabilities or contra assets based on your internal financial controls.

Once these Advance Deposit Billing Items are set up in the system you can begin recording advance deposit payments for the next school year. These payments can be added either through the standard cash receipts module of Student Billing, through an import or directly on the student’s record.

Once the advance deposit is added it can be viewed from the student record or included on reports. To view the advance deposits on a student’s record you must access the Scheduled Activity area of the Activity Tab.

Once you have navigated to this area you will see your Advance Deposit record. All the defaults from main Advance Deposit Billing item will pull into this new record, however you may edit these defaults as needed.

Once the advance deposit has been added to the student’s account you will have the ability to include this activity on the student’s billing statement so the payers can see that the monies have been received but are not yet available for use.

The final step in advance deposit management is generation of the credits and this can be done either one record at a time or for specific groups of records. For example you may have graduating students that have made a deposit on their cap and gown and now that you have received the caps and gowns you want to apply those monies. The Generate Transactions Automatically function is where you would run this process. Generate Transactions Automatically is available from both the Administration module as well as from Student Billing Processing and the advance deposit record screen.

We hope that this short guide to understanding advance deposit management in Student Billing helps you see the power behind this tool set. For more information on setting up advance deposits in Student Billing please visit www.blackbaud.com/kb/

To learn more about Omatic’s automatic email notification system for schools that works directly with the Student Billing & Registrar’s Office modules, please visit our MailOmatic for Schools webpage.

Omatic Software
Omatic Software is dedicated to integrating disparate systems and democratizing data access for today’s nonprofits. Founded in 2002, Omatic has worked with thousands of nonprofits globally to remove their data barriers by integrating systems and enabling nonprofit teams to leverage their donor data rather than be burdened by it. The Omatic team has one goal – unleashing the power of data to show a complete view of your donor, enabling data-driven decision making and opportunity creation for your organization.