A hot topic leading up to the start of the school year is how to handle registration, payments and enrollment fees for your child care, daycare, preschool or similar place of early childhood learning.
Luckily, Procare makes it easy to create and circulate custom registration forms, and collect and record registration fees in a variety of ways depending on how registration works at your child care business.
Before addressing how to structure registration fees, your child care center should have a simplified process that allows parents to register their children for your program. Given how ubiquitous computers and mobile devices are, the most convenient way to do this is online. The MyProcare Parent Portal, powered by the Procare Cloud, offers simplified student registration. A custom form linked to your website allows parents to easily submit registration forms, and daycare providers to enroll children or put them on the wait list. From there, you must determine the best payment structure for your program.
Types of Child Care Registration Fees
There are several common ways in which child care registration fees are structured. You’ll notice I tend to use the term “enrollment” to mean something that happens once, while “registration” is more apt to be a recurring event, but some centers may consider them to be more or less the same thing.
One-Time Enrollment Fee
A one-time enrollment fee may be incurred when a family first signs up their child. As long as the child remains enrolled there are no additional fees of this type, although siblings who enroll later may be charged a separate fee.
Annual Registration Fees
There are also several flavors of recurring annual registration fees where a family is charged a re-enrollment fee once each year. In some cases, the fee applies to all families at the same time, for example, an annual fee might be charged every year on September 1st. In other cases, the fee applies based on the month of enrollment. If a child enrolled in say, March, then each year in March their annual registration fee would come due. For families with additional children, a single fee might cover the whole family (a family plan, or family rate) or each child may have a distinct enrollment month with a separate fee.
This is appropriate for children who enroll mid-way through a month or year. In this case you may want to charge a reduced registration fee, in other words to “prorate it” for the period the child will be enrolled. If your fee were $75 and the child enrolled one-third of the way through your year you might prorate it to 67% of the original rate or $50.
Recording Registration Fees
Visit Procare Support to get details on how to charge registration fees of varying rates to one family, or a group of families, in the Family Accounting module. You can also learn how to charge an annual registration fee based upon the month in which student originally enrolled.
Collecting Registration Payments
Procare also makes it easy to collect payment of fees for registration, tuition or any child care related charges with the Tuition Express payment processing service. Payments can be automatically deducted from parent checking or savings accounts or charged to a credit card.
It’s especially important to have an organized and consistent process for collecting student enrollment / registration fees, to ensure consistent cash flow. Regardless of which registration fee method you use, there are a lot of details to keep track of, including:
- When each family is to be charged based upon when they enrolled
- How many children are enrolled
- How much they are charged if they are getting a prorated rate
- if they are paying the fee in monthly installments or all at once
Keeping track of all of this information is only the first step, you then have to implement it in your billing process. Using a child care billing software allows you to track and automatically charge registration fees at the proper rate and time, ensuring accuracy and consistency.
This consistency will not only increase operations efficiency at your child care center, but will be appreciated by parents as they plan their child care budget.
Interested in learning more about automating you child care billing process? Learn how Procare can help.