We’re excited to launch STEP, the Student Educational Payments Platform*. STEP is a better way to support current and future interfaces between campus sellers and campus systems.
We built STEP as the hub to connect campus sellers with a wide set of campus data sources. Combined with Watchman’s APIs, and a robust business rules engine, it becomes much simpler to have the information you need to evaluate and authorize a transaction – and then bill the right account for each and every student on campus.
This industry-changing system allows for all student funds to be factored in and applied for all eligible purchases, whether at the campus store, or via a web order, or to support digital purchases. Some apply it for Parking and Housing services.
We post charges or refunds to the appropriate system while maintaining a full audit trail for visibility and oversight. Also included is a suite of reporting and reconciliation capabilities, and it’s built so campuses can comply with all payor requirements and, when needed, collect from payors.
Institutions receive the benefits of the end services while Course Material sellers like PoS vendors, IA providers, other Auxiliaries, etc., can interface to it and even bundle its features into their offerings. The Platform connects to internal and external sources of data to facilitate transactions.
STEP meets Higher Education’s most comprehensive standards for security as demonstrated by our performance on the HECVAT. Our HECVAT results are publicly available on the Community Broker Index (CBI) as part of the Research and Education Networks ISAC (REN-ISAC) based at Indiana University.
STEP is made up of a number of components.
STEP powers Services purchased by institutions to benefit students and campus staff who have to handle time-intensive and time-sensitive processes to post student charges to various systems.
The solution requires software interfaces between STEP and your suppliers, such as your Point of Sale (PoS) or your Inclusive Access providers. A growing number of service providers have already partnered with WPS with a supported interface to optimize their workflows to best serve their campus customers.
STEP powers all of Watchman’s packaged services, like Sponsored Account Management, Inclusive Access Billing and Bursar Billing Services and their variations which we supply to Institutions. Those customers get the benefits of this platform as part of their service, and can access all of our solutions or any subset thereof.
Depending on the use case and unique rules of each campus, WPS configures STEP to query whatever data is needed to perform the transaction. It might be a simple check, for example, to verify that a student is enrolled in a certain course that requires a particular piece of course materials – or it might be much more complex, like applying the appropriate tax exemption rules based on what source of funds is being accessed to pay for a student purchase.
Campus services suppliers and interested universities should get in touch with us about how they might use STEP. Please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
* – We know, we know. Student Educational Payments Platform is SEPP or StEPP but we like STEP.