Encom Budget - Overages
When a student enrolls with HCOS, they get a specified amount of funding, as shown in the family's Budget Summary on their additional resource page. This amount will depend on the tuition option they have chosen. With that funding, families are able to purchase curriculum resources and lessons, but they must stay within their allotted budget.
If a family spends more than their budget, an overage will occur. All overages are the financial responsibility of the parents and must be repaid to HCOS. Teachers & parents work together to prevent overages by keeping track of the family's purchases and working within the budget. The HCOS Finance office also has several processes to help families manage their budgets.
HCOS has two ways families can make purchases:
- Purchasing Department - for purchases you would like to make from a vendor who requires payment at point of sale (for example amazon).
- Purchase Order system - families make orders directly from approved vendors or Lesson Providers using their PO#.
- The additional resource page in Encom is checked to make sure families have funds available before purchases are approved.
- If funds are available the purchase will be made and the amount entered into ENCOM once the receipt is received and payment is processed, usually within 3-5 days.
- If funds are not available, an email is sent to parents and teachers explaining the lack of funding, and the order form is deleted.
Purchase Order system:
- Once invoices from a vendor are received by our office, they are posted onto the families additional resource page in Encom, usually within 7 days.
- The HCOS Finance Department will only pay an invoice providing the family has available funding.
- If an invoice cannot be paid in full, an email is sent to the parent and vendor explaining the remaining amount is the financial responsibility of the parent, as stated in the Vendor Agreement.
- If families are over budget and do not wish to pay out of pocket they can contact the vendor and ask about deleting items from their order, returning items (if they have received them already) or cancel the order entirely (Some vendors may charge a restocking fee, such fee would be the financial responsibility of the parent).
It is important to note that the HCOS Finance Department is not aware of any purchases families make, using the PO system, until invoices are received by our office. Vendors have their own timeline on when they send invoices to HCOS, sometimes it can take a few months before our department receives invoices from particular vendors. It is important families keep track of their purchases and look for the posting to be entered in ENCOM.
If parents, teachers and HCOS Finance are all working together to prevent overages, how do they still occur?
- Computer Leases - Computer Lease amounts are over the course of three school years. These entries are put in each year after a family re-enrolls, typically in September or October. If a family has entered into a computer lease agreement, please make sure they are accounting for this charge when they are making purchases. Families will have access to their funding in April, which means there may be 5 or 6 months where the computer lease is not deducted from their funding in ENCOM, giving them a false funding amount.
- Online Courses - When a family adds a K-9 online course to their course load, a $75 fee (per course) is automatically taken from their funding. CC+ courses are also automatically taken from their funding. Before adding a course, please be sure you have the funding to cover the course(s).
- There can be a significant delay when using the PO system. HCOS Finance only knows about the purchase when the vendor sends us the invoice. Some vendors invoice quarterly, meaning more than a month can go by before we received the invoice.
- When making an order via the purchasing department, please know that the entry will be made in ENCOM within 5 business days from the time we receive the receipt. However, during the months of March, April, August, September, and October (when the purchasing department gets hundreds of orders each day) there can be a much longer delay, even up to two or three weeks.
Given the above, what are some ways families can prevent overages?
- Keep a record of purchases (include date of purchase, vendor, and amount).
- Check the additional resource page in your Encom account on a regular basis. Compare your records with the entries in Encom to see if all your purchases are posted or if any are expenses yet to be entered.
- Remember exchange rates apply if ordering from outside of Canada.
- Take advantage of the Learning Commons instead of purchasing new items.
- If a student has a computer lease, remember the amount will be deducted from funding.
- If online courses are added, make sure you take a look at your additional resource page in Encom and ensure you have either funding to cover the cost or are okay to pay for the course out of pocket.