Tech Shifts Student Loan Conversation From Loans to Installment Payments

Technology such as automation can help students of all ages in paying tuition or student loan repayments and can reshape all aspects of the college experience.

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to block the federal student loan forgiveness plan, many of Generation Z’s recent college graduates will make their first student loan repayment in October. While millennials and Generation X still shoulder the brunt of the current $1.6 trillion student loan balance, younger Gen Zers will soon surpass all previous generations in borrowing for college. As more enter their college years, they will seek educational institutions that streamline their daily lives and provide outreach and support to help them obtain financial aid, manage budgets and payments, and become the prudent money experts they will need to be.80%: Share of college executives who say mobile access to data insights and the ability to log in to a centralized dashboard would be very or extremely helpful

Universities face no fewer challenges than their students. The need to focus on student retention increases as competition from other colleges and alternative educational models heats up. Moreover, colleges are bracing themselves for the approaching and unsettlingly named “demographic cliff,” a sharp fall in anticipated enrollment due to the birthrate decrease following the Great Recession.

Technology is slated to become a vital element of the campus experience — but not simply to offer the seamless digital services that Gen Z will need and expect. A study indicated that technology will also be critical in creating new revenue streams for colleges as enrollment inevitably declines.

The “B2B and Digital Payments Tracker®” examines the use of digital payments technology in higher education and how automation and advanced mobile systems are reshaping the college campus experience.

Around the Digital Payments in Higher Education Space

The growing dual risks of physical violence and cyberattacks affecting university campuses are prompting institutions to invest in automation and advanced mobile systems to head off these threats. In particular, institutions are migrating network infrastructure to higher-security providers and are adopting strategies that allow for better tracking of students to alert them of potential physical danger.90%: Share of college students interested in using their phones to purchase food, access buildings and use campus services

PYMNTS research found that Gen Z consumers — who make up the current crop of college and university students — disproportionately seek out dining options that give them control over where and when they eat, indicating that the digital shift impacts their dining expectations. Colleges are adopting self-service solutions, such as camera-monitored mini-food stores, to meet a growing demand for all-hours access.

For more on these and other stories, visit the Tracker’s News and Trends section.

How Technology Is Easing the College Cost Conundrum

Recent events have placed student debt front and center in many collegegoers’ minds — but many do not realize this is an area where technology can help. Tuition installment plans allow schools to offer alternative payment options similar to the buy now, pay later (BNPL) concept so students can reduce or eliminate the need for student loans. Automation technology will also be vital in determining schools’ ability to thrive under the leaner budgets and reduced staffing of tomorrow.

To get the insider POV, PYMNTS spoke with Ryan Audus, vice president of product strategy at TouchNet, about the joint problems of spiraling educational costs and student debt — and how technology plays a part in relieving both.

Why Automation Technology Is Mission-Critical for Campuses’ Future49%: Share of college decision-makers undertaking mobile credentials initiatives to connect and automate campus services from housing to dining

In just the past few years, college-related payments have dramatically switched from traditional paper-based and in-person methods to digital and mobile portals, with students now leveraging virtual IDs for everything from gaining access to campus buildings to paying for meals. However remarkable, this transformation is the mere tip of the iceberg. As students grapple with issues ranging from college affordability to cybersecurity threats to campus violence, technology will be a crucial differentiator for schools looking to draw the best students and ease their educational journeys. It will also be a lifeline for higher-ed institutions needing to find new revenue streams as larger demographic and economic variables shift.

To learn how automation with campuswide mobile technology will be critical to college campuses’ long-term survival, read the Tracker’s PYMNTS Intelligence.

About the Tracker

The “B2B and Digital Payments Tracker®,” a collaboration with American Express, examines the use of digital payments technology in higher education and how automation and advanced mobile systems are reshaping the college campus experience.