Hacks to kicking out the school fees pressure

A parent takes her child to school in Old Park, Kampala on February 4, 2024. Schools pointed to utility bills and feeding expenses as significant cost drivers. PHOTO/STEPHEN OTAGE

What you need to know:

  • As parents navigate school fees payments, it is crucial for them to incorporate checks and balances.

As a parent, one of the greatest challenges to your resolve and financial planning skills is managing school fees payments. While school fees payments may appear to be due only at specific times of the year, managing these periods requires deliberate planning and discipline. Fortunately, advancements in payment processes have greatly enhanced payment methods. 

Although paying school fees has always demanded tact and careful thought, emerging solutions are making it a less stressful. In the past, Ugandans had to stand in long queues days before schools opened. Now, fees can be paid directly from a parent’s mobile device. This doesn’t mean that going to a physical location to pay fees is inadvisable; rather, parents now have numerous options for making school fees payments.

When planning for different payment options, parents should familiarise themselves with all the services their banks offer to determine the most convenient way to pay.

Presently, many banks in Uganda offer mobile banking services, which are among the more popular platforms for school fees payments. When customers open an account, they are asked if they want mobile banking activated. While many may decline, it is advisable to be open to various options, as school fees payments are time-sensitive but also, there are advantages that come with being able to transact conveniently.   

For parents who are always on the go, paying their child’s school fees via USSD code on their phone is a more efficient and time-saving method. By simply following the prompts to enter the student’s information and school code, they can avoid the hassle of visiting a branch, filling out a slip, and waiting in line to submit cash or a cheque to a teller. However, convenience varies for each parent, so banks still provide the option to pay in person at a branch for those who prefer it. 

Online banking is also a popular choice for tech-savvy parents. They can easily log into their bank account through a website or mobile application, enter the necessary information, and make the school fees payment. This method simplifies financial tracking, as parents can always access their account balance and know how much they need to pay when the time comes. 

Agent banking is another option for parents who want to avoid the inconvenience of depositing school fees at a branch but are unable to do it on their devices. This method is popular among parents who prefer a short walk to an authorised agent banking location. There, they can share the student’s payment details with the agent, who will process the payment and provide a receipt. 

The school fees planning process continues to evolve with advancements in technology that is geared towards easing the process. Some of these developments have led banks and other financial institutions to collaborate with emerging payment options in the fintech space, making it even more convenient for parents to pay school fees. 

Innovations include applications dedicated to school fee payment solutions, which often have partnerships with prominent financial institutions to flag potential fraud. 

As parents navigate school fees payments, it is crucial for them to incorporate checks and balances. This ensures they stay aware of important timelines, secure funds in a timely manner, and maintain accurate records to prevent any misunderstandings with stakeholders, mainly the schools. 

Juliet Baggya Nsiyona, Manager SME Banking Centenary Bank