A refund distribution system implemented by financial services provider Higher One at the State University of New York at Oswego was recently named a best practice for the SUNY System based on a first year net savings of $45,000. Oswego had become the first SUNY System institution to implement the new refund distribution method with the expectations of better customer service and improved efficiency.
“We have eliminated production of 14,000 checks, reduced postage costs, minimized bank reconciliations and freed up staff time,” explained Byron Smith, assistant vice president for finance and business at SUNY Oswego. “Higher One has enabled redeployment of human resources to more value added endeavors.”
“The results of implementing this service have been dramatic. We have observed a significant reduction in student traffic to the business office during refund periods,” explained Margaret Lloyd, director of student accounts at Oswego. “We have been able to drastically improve customer service as a result of eliminating time consuming tasks such as printing and reconciling large check runs.”
“In doing our research, we found Higher One’s OneDisburse Refund Management to be the most reliable, convenient and student-focused service available for the management of refund disbursements to our student body,” said Nicholas Lyons, vice president for administration and finance at the University. “Using this program, we can efficiently manage this important business process and simultaneously provide improved services and convenience to our students.”
In order to distribute refunds Oswego sends Higher One a flat file with the names of each student scheduled to receive a refund along with the amount for that refund. Additionally the University sends Higher One a wire for the total amount of the disbursement.
Students receive their refund after choosing one of three different refund methods: Direct deposit to a no monthly fee, no minimum balance, FDIC-Insured, checking account provided by Higher One, an ACH to another bank account of the student’s choice, or a paper check mailed to the address on file.