May 19, 2020
Thank you to all our clients for their patience. We do appreciate there is some frustration and anger at the speed of the recovery of funds and if we could speed the refund process up please be assured, we absolutely would. The dedicated funds recovery team at Student Horizons continue to work incredibly hard on recovering funds from suppliers across the globe for our April and July groups that have made the difficult decision to cancel.
To date Student Horizons has refunded $439,556 in cash refunds to schools. In addition, we have provided $46,774 in Airline Credit note refunds to schools. The total amount refunded across all our April and July groups so far is $477,330. This is a good start but there is still a long way to go. The lion share of the refunds will come from the airlines and although we have received a handful of refund payments from airlines so far we are still waiting on the majority of airlines to send us the refunds for our April and July groups.
We are processing the refunds to schools through a series of instalments. The instalments are in most part a reflection of when we have recovered funds from our suppliers and when we have a sizable amount to send to each school. Yesterday, I personally sent emails to thirteen schools notifying the Principal of each school that another refund instalment had been deposited to their school. $84,000 was refunded into school accounts today. 35% of this amount was a refund from our Insurance partner – Cover-More Travel Insurance. Cover-More have kindly refunded the insurance premiums for our April groups who had booked insurance with Cover-More through Student Horizons. Although Cover-More Insurance did not cover our groups for cancelation under pandemics we are grateful they are refunding the insurance premiums for our April groups and this refund was received into our account yesterday and we have immediately refunded each respective school.
By the end of May we are hopeful that we will receive large refund payments from Qatar airlines. Four of our April Kiwi groups were booked on Qatar and based on communication at the end of last week we expect to receive Qatar flight refunds through our consolidator (Air Tickets) shortly. As soon as these refund amounts hit our account and have been reconciled, we will be immediately transferring these significant amounts to the respective schools.
Thank you again for your patience. The impact of the pandemic and the associated government restrictions is something completely out of Student Horizons control and the impact on my business and the people in my business has been catastrophic. I have made responsible decisions to protect the money that has been paid to us by our active touring clients and these include having to make 55% of our team redundant and as of this week all my remaining staff, including my wife and I are being remunerated solely by the wage subsidy. We are grateful for the government wage subsidy and this helps us to continue our work in recovering money for our clients. We have also done our very best to reduce all our business overheads as much as we can to reduce cash burn and further protect our clients funds, and one significant measure in this regard involves letting go of our Head Office tenancy in Brisbane. Our small team in Brisbane will shortly be working from home for an indefinite period of time and the owners of Student Horizons have also converted their garage into an office as a short-term solution, whilst the world resets.
In addition to the critical work of recovering funds for April and July groups we also have a dedicated team working with schools and suppliers on postponing tours due to depart in September and beyond. We are grateful for the 21 schools that have already shown commitment towards postponement.
We are thankful to all our suppliers and partners for their understanding and their help in this transition as we adapt, in our attempt to survive covid-19 for the benefit of all stakeholders and most importantly for all our clients. I will keep you posted over the coming days and weeks on how we are getting on with refunds for our April and July groups.
Please do continue to check our FAQs where we are updating information and adding new FAQs daily.
19 May 2020