Financial aid is critical to meeting institution’s enrollment, retention and student success goals. Per Noel Levitz, being the first to demonstrate affordability to prospective students will give you a critical advantage in this competitive and cost-conscious market. But time and speed aren’t the only factors of success. Financial aid departments must also manage the changing demographics of their prospective and current student base and their increased, sophisticated digital and self-service expectations.
Today’s student dynamics are much different than even 5 years ago:
- 2.4 million less students today than 5 years ago
- 33% seniors apply to 7+ schools and make decisions based on financial aid packages
- 71% of today’s students are nontraditional
- 41% of students say a better digital experience would improve their experience
So, it’s not surprising that chief business officers are looking in earnest to new and innovative ideas to adapt to this changing marketplace. One core area of focus has been financial aid, specifically replacing legacy financial aid management systems that are hindering innovation with new solutions that will meet the needs of today’s students.
The top 3 reasons driving a financial aid management solution change:
- Supporting nontraditional enrollment models. With more than 71% of the student body being nontraditional, institutions are thinking beyond traditional enrollment models. Automating financial aid for nonterm and nonstandard term is now a reality and institutions are at a tipping point – legacy systems weren’t built to automate these nontraditional enrollments and the manual processing done as a work around takes too much time – a solution that automates all enrollment models and does so in a compliant, scalable, risk-free way is critical.
- Making impactful efficiency gains. Financial aid departments have been feeling the pressure of needing to do more with less. With often limited staff and an increase in demand, the need for a financial aid management solution that automates all processes, thereby freeing the team to focus on higher value tasks has never been more important.
- Improving the student experience. Students expect a high level of support and service from institutions–and financial aid is no exception. Students want to be able to access their financial aid status, next steps, electronically uploaded documents, and add e-signatures. Equally as important is empowering financial aid counselors with easily-accessible and complete student financial information that will enable student/counselor interaction to be most powerful and effective. This positive interaction has a direct correlation to the student’s perception of the financial aid office and the institution holistically.
Due to the points above, institutions are deciding to look to other financial aid management needs. Brandman University, for instance, by moving to Regent’s financial aid management solutions is now saving more than 13,000 hours annually –time they’ve reallocated towards higher-value student financial counseling and a reduction of financial aid staff by 13 percent.
Other resources you might enjoy:
 “Ten Tips for Managing Your Enrollment in a Down Economy,” Kevin Crockett, President and CEO, Noel-Levitz, Noel-Levitz Executive Briefing, 2008, https://www.ruffalonl.com/documents/shared/Papers_and_Research/2008/TenTipsManagingEnrollment.pdf
 “Colleges’ Endless Pursuit of Students,” The Atlantic, April 10, 2017, https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2017/04/the-business-of-college-marketing/522399/
 “73% of Students Are Dissatisfied with Their University’s Digital Strategy,” Unit 4, May 25, 2016, http://www.unit4.com/us/about/news/2016/05/73-of-students-recommend-university-improve-digital-strategy-copy-2 and http://info.unit4.com/rs/900-SZD-631/images/U4-EDU-GEN-Education-research-infographic.pdf