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Identifying students who are at risk of student loan default and establishing ongoing communication with those students are two key strategies for minimizing borrower default. Financial aid administrators should include these strategies and more in their default prevention programs, so borrowers are aware of their repayment options and less likely to default. This web seminar, originally broadcast on January 28, 2014, featured administrators from two institutions. They described the tools and strategies they have employed to curb loan defaults.

As one of the nation’s largest public institutions, the University of Minnesota includes some 65,000 students on five campuses across the state, with its main campus in Minneapolis-St. Paul. In the year 2000, the leadership of the university began an ambitious plan to install video projectors in all 325 centrally scheduled classrooms and nearly 200 departmental classrooms on campus. Today, all classrooms have projectors installed, and they are maintained by the university’s Classroom Technical Services, which installs and maintains all classroom AV equipment on campus.

As the academic retail industry faces unprecedented changes in student behavior and rapid advances in technology, campus bookstores need to rise above the transaction. Today’s campus bookstores must focus on delivering a superior experience that supports and celebrates the cultural and academic aspirations of students, faculty and alumni.

Business office leaders need to balance affordability and access with protecting their institution from bad debt. Reducing student accounts receivable is possible, even when increased enrollment and graduation rates are a priority. This web seminar, originally broadcast on November 14, 2014, featured Loretta Chrzan-Williams, director of student accounts at SUNY Monroe Community College (Rochester, N.Y.), who discussed how her institution decreased bad debt and improved student GPAs through implementing a simple four-step plan.

Like most modern institutions, Washington College increasingly requires reliable, high-performance computer network access. That’s why the 1,400-student Chestertown, Maryland, institution needed to address a significant networking bottleneck. “By late 2012, the traditional network access control (NAC) device responsible for authenticating users had become a serious choke point,” recalls Cal Coursey, interim CIO. “Not only was it obsolete, but also all network traffic went through the device.

When its credit card fees hit $1.6 million in early 2011, Missouri State University officials decided there must be a better way. “Because it became so common for students and their family members to pay by credit card, the fees became unmanageable,” recalls Doug Willson, the bursar for the 23,000-student institution based in Springfield, Mo. In addition to reducing fee costs, MSU desired a means to move all card processing off-site to achieve efficiencies, improve data security and reduce burdens surrounding payment card industry (PCI) regulatory compliance.

The Education Corporation of America (ECA) is a privately held company which operates private accredited colleges across the country, including 26 campuses and an online program of Virginia College. ECA provides diplomas, associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in professional programs designed to prepare students for direct entry into the job market. By 2008, the leadership at ECA was looking for an enrollment and financial planning software solution that could better meet their needs.

For the students, staff, alumni, and others at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, Calif., remembering multiple user IDs and passwords to log in to numerous applications was a cumbersome experience. Resetting the inevitably forgotten passwords was time-consuming and frustrating as the help desk was not open 24/7. The beginning of each semester, when many people make transitions, was always hard on IT staff.

At colleges across Montana, the nonprofit Student Assistance Foundation (SAF) provides students with the knowledge and tools to pursue and fund their postsecondary education. Using proceeds from its student loan servicing business and from its own fundraising efforts, the Helena-based organization offers grants, scholarships, community outreach, counseling, and training on financial education.

Maintaining frequent contact with student loan borrowers is a challenge at any institution, regardless of size. At the 725-student Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology in Tulsa, Okla., the three-year cohort default rate was commonly between 25 and 27 percent. “Our rate was so high because we had no easy way to communicate electronically with our borrowers,” says Dean Riling, vice president of administration. “Our accounts system did not connect with student email addresses.”