University of Massachusetts Global Case Study
Redefining Its Financial Aid System to Support Non-Traditional Students
University of Massachusetts Global (UMass Global), formerly Brandman University, is a non-profit affiliate of the University of Massachusetts system with 25 campuses throughout California and Washington as well as a virtual campus.
The university has been serving students since 1958 and offers 90+ fields of study in undergraduate, graduate, credential, and certificate programs across its five schools, in the areas of arts and sciences, business, education, nursing, and health.
Focusing on the Non-Traditional Student
UMass Global enrolls more than 13,000 students and focuses on providing flexible programs and schedules to meet the needs of its non-traditional students which include adult, low-income, first generation, Hispanic and military students.
- 90% of UMass Global students work while completing a program.
- 36 is the average age of a UMass Global student.
- 56% of graduates balance education and parenting.
UMass Global is committed to providing a learning environment with flexible formats, relevant curriculum, and a myriad of student services and resources. Committed to excellence, the university’s online programs consistently have ranked among the best in the nation by U.S. News and World Report.
Student success is their number one goal. “I’m drawn to a Vince Lombardi quote when I speak about our mission," says Greg Ball, Assistant Vice Chancellor of Financial Aid at UMass Global. “’Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.’ It truly embodies our approach.” It’s through this lens that Ball and the leadership team assessed UMass Global’s financial aid system.
UMass Global offers its students three flexible ways to learn: 100% Online Course-Based, Hybrid Course-Based, or Online Competency-Based. Yet, the legacy financial aid system the university had been using simply could not accommodate its non-term, CBE enrollments. The system was failing both the university and its students, thereby diminishing the team’s ability to deliver excellence.
Although staff recognized the limitations of the university’s legacy system, they also felt a certain degree of familiarity with it. Moving to a new system would require a level of effort as well as confidence that the new solution would address UMass Global’s challenges.
Ball and his team sought out six prospective providers and began an evaluation process. Each solution was graded on its ability to meet the institution’s goals, including:
1. Supporting multiple enrollment models, including CBE
2. Creating efficiencies around financial aid packaging and repackaging
3. Reducing compliance risk
After thoroughly vetting the options, it quickly became clear that Regent Education’s financial aid system was the obvious choice for managing financial aid for both UMass Global’s term and non-term enrollment models.
Our university wants to help people get access to higher education. Regent enables us to do this more effectively.
-Greg Ball, Assistant Vice Chancellor of Financial Aid
Success can be measured. Just ask the team at UMass Global who have chronicled the changes that have taken place at the university since implementing Regent.
The institution has reported impressive efficiency metrics for processing both non-term and term-based financial aid.
The automated processing, document management, and automatic tasks enabled by Regent Award and Regent Review have enabled the financial aid team to effectively manage two enrollment models and UMass Global’s corporate partnerships benefits program; reduce staff; and increase disbursements (see sidebar, “Success Metrics”).
We are now processing faster and more effectively – saving more than 13,000 hours annually – time we’ve reallocated towards higher-value student financial counseling and a reduction of financial aid staff by 13 percent.
-Greg Ball, Assistant Vice Chancellor of Financial Aid
This efficiency is true for both enrollment models and the diverse financial aid benefits offered by UMass Global’s corporate partners.
On the regulatory side, federal updates are run in the background regularly, eliminating the margin for human error and reducing costly compliance risks. And, on the usability front, Regent’s intuitive navigation means that the average staff member can become an expert with less than a day of instruction.
UMass Global counts student service improvements among its successes as well.
Students can gain real-time access to their accounts via a self-service portal, which offers a level of immediacy and transparency that didn’t exist previously. With staff no longer spending time on manual workarounds, when a student does need help, someone is available to deliver the personalized support that a community of students from diverse backgrounds with needs requires.
UMass Global also selected Regent Award for Salesforce – the only higher ed financial aid app on the Salesforce AppExchange – to enable its enrollment and student-success teams to access key financial aid insights to aid in student recruiting and advising, respectively.
Finally, the university deployed Regent Plan, which provides informed planning, smart borrowing, and improved support to help students borrow responsibly and minimize debt while completing degree programs. To date, students who use the solution to select the direct-cost option have borrowed more than 44% less in financial aid.
If UMass Global’s results are any indication, Ball and his team are well on their way to achieving their goal of “catching excellence.”
*As reported by UMass Global
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- Obstacles in financial ad discourage matriculation.
- Lacked a financial aid solution that could automate both term-based and non-term enrollment models without customization
- Manual processing demands affected staff’s ability to deliver personalized, efficient service and increased compliance risk.
REGENT FINANCIAL AID SYSTEM
- Regent Award and Regent Review, supporting multiple enrollment models, including CBE
- Regent Award for Salesforce
- Regent Plan
- Earlier eligibility bolsters early enrollment and fosters confidence in student planning.
- Increases staff efficiency and productivity through automation
- Improves ability to counsel and support students
- Reduces processing errors and compliance risk
- Improves student experience and helps them borrow responsibly
- Processing time dropped from a
3-year average of 17 days to its
current 6-day processing time.
- More than 13,000 person hours saved annually with process and document automation
- 20% reduction in central financial aid office workload
- Enabled a 62% increase in aid-awarded enrollment from corporate partnerships
- More than $15,000 saved in improper scholarship awards
Enhanced compliance capability for Title IV programs
- Reduction in revising award tasks from 15 business days to 1 day
- 82% 6-year graduation rates
Students using Regent Plan to select the direct-cost option have borrowed more than 44% less.
- Only financial aid system that
automates financial aid support
for traditional and non-traditional enrollment models (including non-term, BBAY, CBE, standard and nonstandard term and SAY models)
- Enables institutions to operate
multiple enrollment models concurrently
- Supports diverse corporate-partner benefits programs
- Calculates the entire
student academic plan for the life of the program
- Faster awarding and process times
- Student tracking
- Timely regulatory updates managed automatically
- Advanced student-service portal
- User experience designed by
financial aid experts for financial
- Integrates with any SIS