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Articles: Student Services

Colleges and universities that have not yet implemented electronic transcripts may be selling their students short.

Not only do e-transcripts require less staff time and ensure better results through trackability and online security, but they also can be delivered almost instantly.

One proven way to improve retention is by supplementing traditional academic advising with student success coaching. Student success coaching helps students fit school into life and life into school while building up the skills they need to be successful, including study skills, time management, and stress management. As institutions explore the possibility of starting coaching programs to improve student outcomes, there are several challenges they will face.

When it comes to online education, careful course development is hardly the only piece needed for successful student outcomes. Colleges without long-time experience in distance learning may be far more likely to overlook the importance of adequate support services. Just how can these needs be met? Here are seven ways to provide exceptional support for online students.

Small schools led in SIS purchases, but mid-tier schools were more active in 2013.

A potentially positive higher ed economic indicator is that more institutions purchased student information systems in 2013 than had done so in any year since 2008, according to a recent market analysis by The Tambellini Group.

Two of the main reasons given for the 195 purchases were the need to update outdated software and to replace homegrown systems.

From managing loans to controlling spending, many college students find themselves dealing with a host of financial responsibilities for the very first time. And it’s not uncommon for them to trip up.

Campus financial literacy programs can help students steer clear of some of their most common financial mistakes. The challenge for educators is to find creative and clever ways to get their attention.

Many colleges are advising students how they can save money with digital and used textbooks.

As costly as tuition and textbooks can be, poor planning and time management can raise the prices even higher.

Richard O’Connor, director of financial aid at American International College in Massachusetts, says students at that institution have several options for saving on books. “About half of our students are low income, so just paying tuition can be challenging.”

Instrumental in implementing the new online payments system were  (left to right) Allison Foltz, Mike Boolukos and Melody Baker from the  information technology office.

Cash flow is as important to nonprofits as it is to corporate entities. That’s something officials at Salisbury University in Maryland had in mind when they engaged outside help several years ago to provide students with online payment gateways, tuition payment plans and electronic bills.

The steps resulted in increased efficiencies and more timely payment. But with enrollment up a third over the last decade—and no increase in accounts receivable staffing—officials knew it was time to take the next step.

Customization and automation are key elements  of the new administrative system developed for the Distance Learning Center, located in Ullsvik Hall.

In the past, University of Wisconsin-Platteville staff had to manually enter the records of any student pursuing an online degree. With more than 2,500 students enrolled, this was no easy feat—especially considering staff also had to manually enter course registration, financial aid and even basic contact information. This effort required approximately 500 hours of staff time each semester—or 1,500 hours a year—to accommodate the university’s three-semester system.

When you think about the blinding pace of technological change, it’s a wonder the University of Iowa’s student information system worked for as long as it did.

More than 30—yes, 30—years old, Iowa’s SIS was less an integrated series of data processing functions and more a collection of individual siloed systems that didn’t work very well together. Because the underlying technology and architecture were so old, enhancements were difficult. Data were redundant and difficult to synchronize. And manual, paper-based processes frustrated users.

Workforce development has long been a bastion of the community college environment. But with student-loan debt topping $1 trillion and enrollments falling, many four-year colleges and universities are devoting more attention to the area, in part as a way to boost their own relevance within a challenging global economy.

Industry-driven
A Toyota workforce study revealed: Within 10 years, at least 200 employees in their Indiana manufacturing plant would retire.
Action: Partner with university to launch the Toyota Advanced Manufacturing Technician Program

The Loyola platform is a one-stop shop for tracking and spending points.

“Engage with the career center” sounds a bit like “eat your vegetables” to a college student. Students know they should access career planning resources, but other options from the campus activities buffet beckon.

In surveys, graduating students from Loyola University Maryland’s Sellinger School of Business and Management raved about the faculty and facility, but not the career center, says Dean Karyl Leggio.

Spencer Parker had a plan: Take his high school volleyball stardom to college, spend a couple of years at a smaller school to develop his academic and athletic skills, then move on to a larger setting. Become a volleyball star on a bigger stage. But the nagging desire to play college football, the lingering effect of a successful season as high school quarterback, was relentless.

In fall 2012, Sage launched the Achieve Degree program, an online degree designed for students on the autism spectrum or with other special needs, who generally work from home or their local library.

In today’s competitive higher education market, colleges and universities must prove the value of the degrees they bestow to graduates each year. Traditional measures, such as graduation rates, grade point averages, and cohort default rates, have become only a few of the ways colleges and universities are evaluated. Students and their parents want to be assured that their investment in a college education will pay off in the form of a self-sustaining and financially-secure career path.

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