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Graduate Schools

Eliminating physical documents has made information retrieval a lot less cumbersome and saved precious storage space.

Like most academic institutions, the Mercer University School of Law (Ga.) generates a lot of paperwork. However, the Dean’s Office team knew there had to be a better way to process and store key financial and administrative files than to simply fill banker’s boxes and stack them in the school’s dingy attic and basement. That attic was almost completely filled, anyhow. All 1,500 square feet were stuffed with boxes of files dating back to the 1950s, says Michael Dean, associate dean and COO of the law school.

Five years of falling application numbers is hard to swallow in good times, but when the economy turns sour, as in recent years, the situation goes from disappointment to outright concern.

Such was the case at Wayne State University, in Detroit. The late-2000’s recession struck Michigan especially hard, and with the state unable to maintain prior funding levels, the university’s graduate admissions woes came into even sharper relief.

Admissions staff felt buried by all the mailed applications awaiting them.

The good news for North Carolina State University’s graduate school: applications have been increasing by 5 percent to 10 percent per year. The bad news: it was putting a strain on already overtaxed admissions staff.

Thanks to the new system, staff can spend more time assisting students and much less time processing phone requests for meetings.