TPSA and FACTS Pave Way for New Service Fee Option in Texas

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Important new option for parents in paying tuition and fees

FACTS Management Company (FACTS) is pleased to announce that an important payment option will soon be available for private schools in Texas. On Saturday, May 23, 2015, the Texas State Legislature passed HB 1881 allowing PK-12 private schools to accept payment of tuition and fees with credit or debit card where the parent is responsible for the card transaction fee. This "service fee" practice is common in 40 states, but a statute in Texas has long prohibited merchants from passing card transaction fees to the customer.

Sensing there was widespread support for such a measure, Jim Waits, Senior Vice President at FACTS, convened last year with Texas Private Schools Association (TPSA) Executive Director, Laura Colangelo, to develop a strategy. Ms. Colangelo found a sponsor for the bill in the Texas House and a companion bill in the Senate. This successful campaign was supported by a broad-based coalition of private school advocates who communicated with their representatives the importance of this measure for the private school sector.

While the merchant typically absorbs the transaction fee as a cost of doing business, private schools, most operating with already tight budgets, are not in a position to assume the burden of card transaction fees. Up until now, these schools have not been able to offer credit card payment at all. While colleges and universities in Texas have enjoyed an exemption from the service fee ban, the signing of this bill into law brings consistency to the state’s statutes on how credit/debit cards can be used in the education field.

“This legislation provides an important option for parents in how they pay tuition and fees to their school. Now parents may choose for themselves if they want to pay with a credit card or other options,” said Ms. Colangelo. “Thanks to our legislature for making this payment method available without causing undue burden on the schools.”

The new law goes into effect September 1, 2015, and applies only to PK-12 private schools.

“FACTS is proud of our partnership with private schools throughout the state of Texas,” said Mr. Waits. “It was a privilege to work alongside Ms. Colangelo to help make a change that will have such a positive impact on schools and their families within the state.”

About FACTS Management Company
FACTS, a Nelnet company (NYSE: NNI), is located in Lincoln, Neb., and is committed to making educational dreams possible for families and students, as well as enhancing the financial stability and affordability of educational institutions. FACTS serves more than one million families at over 7,000 schools, and manages $7.1 billion in tuition funds annually. FACTS offers a comprehensive suite of services including tuition management, payment administration and processing, financial needs assessment, online application and enrollment, and RenWeb student administration software.

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Ben Kiser
FACTS
+1 (402) 458-3024
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