Sponsored Case Studies & Features

Until last January, issuing financial aid refunds at Antelope Valley College was a long, tedious process. Instruction files were sent from the school to a remote district office, which printed checks and sent them back to the school to be stuffed into envelopes and mailed to students.

It was a time-consuming and costly procedure, explained Sherrie Padilla, director of financial aid at the community college, located in Lancaster, Calif. “We needed to investigate other ways to disburse refunds to students,” she said.

 

Our process was pretty much like everybody else’s. It was all about paper and very time consuming.

When H1N1 made its way to the mountains of northwestern Vermont two years ago, the technology experts at Saint Michael's College were concerned students or teachers might not make it to class. The virus didn't reach epidemic proportions at the small Catholic college, but it energized the team already considering ways to bring lessons beyond the classroom.

 

Welcome to the first Streamlined of 2009! My colleagues and I are proud to continue this series of publications designed to inform college and university administrators about new and innovative methods of streamlining business office operations.

Blinn College has been in the business of educating students since 1883, a point of pride for its administrators. Even as it honors its pioneering roots, the college also has evolved to meet the needs of students. Founded initially to train young men for the ministry, Blinn became the first county-owned junior college in Texas and one of the largest of the state’s 50 community/junior college districts.

 

Welcome to the inaugural edition of Streamlined. My colleagues and I are proud to present this series of publications to inform college and university administrators about new and innovative methods of streamlining business office operations.

When it came time to mail financial aid refund checks at Des Moines Area Community College each semester, officials always worried about how many of those checks the post office would return as undeliverable. With nearly 27,000 students attending more than 3,000 classes on six campuses, it was inevitable that many of those students would have forgotten to inform the school of a new address.

As the problems with mailing checks mounted, administrators at DMACC decided it was time to go another direction. They surveyed the student body to learn more about how they would like to receive refunds.

 

Welcome to the second Streamlined of 2009! My colleagues and I are proud to continue this series of publications designed to inform college and university administrators about new and innovative methods of streamlining business office operations.

Our annual surveys provide information on the landscape of ITIT and campus policies. In 2010 we added questions on going mobile. For the category "Mobile apps are an important part of campus plans," we got a very strong response. We see this as very much driven by student expectations - an expectation, if not an entitlement.

We find that 97 percent of all students in four-year colleges own cell phones and over half own smartphones. Look at the actual deployment levels: about 20 to 25 percent of universities have already launched mobile apps. And a large number currently have plans under review.

 

For students at Sam Houston State University, a slim wallet-size card is the key to getting financial aid refunds, a paycheck from a campus job, access to the dorm, a good book , a good meal and more.

 

A commitment to reaching out and meaningfully connecting with its students has prompted Chicago-based DePaul University to implement a customer relationship management (CRM) tool traditionally used by businesses to generate more customers. The university’s well-known entrepreneurial spirit is one reason underlying the initiative, but there are other equally - if not more - compelling reasons:

It’s not easy to get to a bank, especially for students without cars. A shuttle stops at the local strip mall but there’s only one bank, so if that’s not your bank you can’t cash your check. That problem is gone with refunds going right into our OneAccounts.

 

If you can solve three problems all at once, why not just go ahead and do it?

That was the attitude that led The University of Findlay, in northwest Ohio, to adopt Higher One’s OneDisburse Refund Management system and at the same time make the Higher One OneCard its universal student ID and have the company disburse student payroll.

 

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