For higher education institutions, processing financial aid is a complex undertaking. It’s why institutions turn to financial aid management (FAM) systems to manage all the administrative processes, maintain compliance, reduce costs, and improve the entire financial aid distribution process.
All FAMs support the following three core financial aid processes:
- Enable institutions to receive and process student financial aid applications
- Package basic awards
- Request funding
But not all FAMs are created equally. Any solution worth considering must be able to handle the full complexity of today’s financial aid ecosystem. It also should go above and beyond for students. After all, aren’t they the ones we’re all here to support?
So, what should your financial aid management system be doing for you?
1. Automate financial aid processes up to 95%
86% of first-time, full-time undergraduate students were awarded aid at 4-year degree-granting institutions, and 79% were awarded aid at 2-year degree-granting institutions.1
That’s a lot of financial aid to process.
And, according to the 2019 NASFAA Benchmarking Report, only 77% of institutions report sufficient resources to administer Title IV aid programs in compliance with federal administrative capability requirements. This means that 23% of institutions don’t have enough people to process millions of dollars of financial aid efficiently and with reduced risk.
But what if more of the processes were automated?
Did you know that you could automate financial aid processes by as much as:
Using a highly automated FAM, one private, nonprofit institution saw a 20% reduction in central financial office workload. They also enhanced compliance for their Title IV programs.2
2. Support all enrollment models
What if your president or provost asked you to support a new, flexible enrollment model for a new program offering? Could you do it?
How many FAMs do you believe support and automate traditional and borrower-based academic years (BBAYs) using standard and nonstandard terms as well as self-paced programming, such as competency-based education (CBE), using the new subscription periods or dynamic nonterm models?
Sadly, the answer is only 1.
3. Help students reduce debt
Student debt in the U.S. continues to be at a crisis level, with 46 million borrowers owing nearly $1.75 trillion in student loan debt.3
Kinda makes your head spin …multiple times.
It’s why there is so much talk about student loan forgiveness and debt cancellation. Individuals and families are weighed down by enormous student loan debt. It increases the likelihood of not only discontinuing college but also blocking their paths forward toward home ownership, vacation experiences, and providing opportunities for their children
What if you could help students reduce the debt they take on, right from the start?
Did you know there’s a FAM that allows students to see award offers at varying levels of borrowing and their associated payback amounts? They could choose maximum borrowing or borrow just enough to cover the direct costs for their specific programs.
For one private, nonprofit institution, this capability helped students reduce their borrowed amount by as much as 35%. That equates to 10s of thousands of dollars.2
4. Support more than Title IV
Financial aid can come from multiple sources:
- Grants and Scholarships
- Military and Veteran’s Benefits
- Work Study Jobs
- Federal Financial Aid
- Private Loans
- Employer Support
- State Awards
So, FAMs should support more than just Title IV.
For example, does your institution leverage corporate and community partnerships to help students finance their education? And, if so, is your FAM flexible enough to automate all the diverse benefit programs?
With the support of a FAM that does, one institution increased aid-awarded enrollment by 50% with this funding source alone.2
5. Provide a 360-degree view of the student experience
Enrollments are declining. It’s not new news. So, that means that every single enrollment is precious.
Your FAM likely enables financial aid advisors to help students stay on top of their financial aid processes and reduce the ‘What’s the status of my financial aid?’ calls and emails. Does it also support automated, personalized multi-channel communication such as texting and emails to guide students through their financial aid processes? In addition, does it provide advisors a secure way to see what the student sees in his/her financial aid portal in real time? Imagine how much more focused and helpful advisors could be if they had such capabilities.
Further, does your FAM provide financial aid insights into Salesforce for enrollment and student-success teams who don’t use the FAM? Think about this …
Recruiters could identify the presence of a FAFSA at the institution as well as the student’s awarding status to help with proactive outreach for students of interest. They also could spot tasks or documents blocking awards or disbursements and direct students on next steps.
Student Success Advisors could discover if a student has not requested aid for the upcoming year and conduct proactive outreach. They also could detect if an issue with a student’s aid places him/her at risk and provide appropriate direction. Finally, they can recognize if a student is experiencing academic issues that may affect access to financial aid and, if so, engage the right resources.
Processing financial aid is indeed a complex undertaking, and not all financial aid management systems are created equal. Be sure you are getting everything you need from yours.
Spoiler Alert: This is where I tell you that there IS a FAM that does everything you just read.
- Regent Education’s financial aid management software is the only solution that automates each and every step of the financial aid process, from the moment your institution receives a student’s initial ISIR and is selected for verification, until that student’s very last disbursement.
- We automate all enrollment models, including the new subscription periods model. We also support multiple models at the same institution. Here are the processes that can be automated for the top enrollment models.
- Our Regent Plan solution empowers institutions to help students borrow responsibly and minimize debt. It does so by providing students with informed, dynamic financial aid planning aids, smart borrowing tools, and improved counseling support throughout the process. And, yes, the institution that helped students reduce their borrowed amounts by as much as 35% is one of our clients.
- We support more than Title IV, including corporate sponsorships. And, yes, the institution that increased aid-awarded enrollment by 50% with corporate sponsorships is one of our clients.
- Regent Award for Salesforce is the only higher education financial aid app on the Salesforce AppExchange.
So, if your FAM isn’t doing all of this for your institution, check out our solutions at https://regenteducation.com/financial-aid-software/ or email us directly at email@example.com.