St George’s School, Ascot is an independent boarding school for girls with a strong academic tradition and ranks as one of Berkshire’s top girls’ schools.
When an overseas client left a large, unpaid amount, Bursar, Mrs. Julia Wood approached Daniels Silverman to help recover the debt. She said:
“Other school bursars had spoken highly of Daniels Silverman and as they operated on a ‘no win no fee’ basis, we couldn’t really lose. The debtor in question was based in Nigeria and so it was a difficult case to pursue.
“Daniels Silverman was very professional and I was perhaps most impressed by their regular reporting procedures which kept us updated throughout the process. They secured a settlement payment on our behalf and I would definitely recommend them to other independent schools.”
Set in the former Georgian home of world-renowned author Charles Dickens, Gads Hill School in Higham, Kent has built a strong reputation for its challenging academic curriculum and wide range of activities, trips and visits that encourage all pupils to develop their talents to the full.
Many families are keen to secure the best possible education for their children but are not always able to meet the continuing financial commitment that a private education entails. For the past couple of years Gads Hill School has been using debt collection agency, Daniels Silverman to help recover debts from unpaid school fees.
Bursar, Tim Payne, is responsible for school finance and feels that there has been an escalation in the school’s debt issues since the economic downturn in 2007.
He commented: “We are a relatively small enterprise in comparison to some of the large name private, educational institutions, but with the school’s enviable reputation for educational excellence, many parents are keen to secure a strong academic start for their children and put enormous effort and financial commitment into achieving this. Unfortunately, for some it is a step too far and the on-going nature of school fees can mean, in some instances, that they are unable to continue to resource their child’s education.”
“We use Daniels Silverman as a last resort after our letters requesting payment have failed to bring any results. The debt collection process means that Daniels Silverman really end up with the clients who either can’t pay or won’t pay so often the payment they secure is a compromise but it is certainly a good result and overall they collect on about 30 per cent of our cases.”
“Redehall Prep have been using Daniels Silverman for a number of years now to collect our outstanding school fees, and so far they have been extremely successful. Daniels Silverman are effective and efficient through their collection process, with minimal effort required from our end- which is just what we need.”
Nicola Chivers, School Secretary.
“I would definitely recommend Daniels Silverman to other Private Schools with problem debts. If the debt can be recovered Daniels Silverman will make sure they find a way to collect it. Daniels Silverman have now collected on three problem debts, including one international debt for our school and all monies were successfully recovered in full within six months. Registering your debt is done though a secure portal and updates on the progress of cases are sent automatically to yourselves. If you need to get hold of someone to talk to, your Account Manager is on hand to make it simple. Best of all – if the debt can be recovered, it is! It’s easy. It’s simple. It works.”
Ed Hellings, Director of Finance and Administration.
“We would not hesitate to recommend Daniels Silverman to other schools having problems with collecting late school fees. They were very quick to start collecting fees, going straight through the courts to proceed as legally required and ensuring that our debtors agreed and adhered to new payment arrangements. The whole process was extremely efficient and we would fully endorse them to anyone.”
Bursar, Private School, London
Double dip recession causing concern for private schools with 3 out of 5 expecting the 2012/13 academic year to be tougher than last.
Private schools are facing a number of challenges brought on by the continued financial crisis.
Figures from a recent Credit Services Association (CSA) report reveal consumer debt has soared with a total of £32 million awaiting collection by their members. Together with consumer debt sold to debt buyers this equates to the equivalent of £1000 of referred debt for every person in the country. Parents of children in private education are not exempt and many are struggling to meet the rising cost of private school fees.
Daniels Silverman, one of the country’s leading credit management and debt recovery agencies have seen a steady rise in schools seeking help with fee management. Numerous prolonged periods of late payment have a significant impact on cash flow and it is important to address the issue of unpaid and overdue fees early.
Carole Hughes managing director of Daniels Silverman Limited says “We recently conducted a survey of private education providers to ascertain how the recession is affecting their school. 50% confirmed the current academic year is proving financially tougher than the last one (Sept 2010 to June 2011), and the majority (3 out of 5) expected this academic year (from Sept 2012) to be even harder financially. A staggering 86% confirmed that parents were expressing concerns about their ability to fund private education for their children in future.”
It is important that schools have clear admission policies and terms and conditions that deal with non payment of fees and clear notice periods in the event a parent needs to withdraw a child from the school. Parents can be extremely embarrassed when their financial circumstances change, and the school may be the last to know. By taking action at the first sign of default and engaging the services of a professional credit management and collection agency, this can be avoided, and affordable repayment plans agreeable to both school and parents can be put into place and closely monitored.
Legal action should be viewed as a last resort after all other avenues have been explored due to the time and expense involved.