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Heeding the call

Institutions of higher learning and their financial aid departments face increasing governmental pressure to perform; using ECM solutions improves performance and recruiting
University Business, September 2013

In light of President Obama’s recent speech outlining his goals for higher education, the need to become more transparent, accountable and efficient has become particularly acute for those charged with managing student financial aid, says Linda Ding, education program strategist for Laserfiche.

“Financial aid departments are certain to undergo greater government scrutiny,” she says. “They’re going to be held accountable for providing documentation of all their processes, especially if something goes wrong. And if they don’t have enough staff in place to ensure that all the t’s are crossed and the i’s dotted, they’re going to have to hire up.”

Considering the budgetary constraints most institutions are wrestling with, adding more employees to the payroll isn’t realistic. Consequently, in an effort to do more with less and do it better, financial aid departments are increasingly turning to ECM solutions, such as Laserfiche, for help.

“This ECM technology enables them to streamline their processes, capture data and information accurately, and make it immediately searchable,” Ding explains. “Document security is greatly enhanced by designating access, and also through audit trails that identify who changed what and when.”

Rather than spending time locating and tracking hardcopy documents, searching for misplaced files, contacting students to request missing information, and all the other efficiency-sapping tasks that come with a paper-based system, the Laserfiche ECM tool enables staff to function with greater agility, says Ding.

“They’re able to process and send documents in a timely manner, and deliver the financial aid decision much faster to qualified students, making the university or college far more competitive in attracting the kind of students they want to recruit,” she says.

“You want to attract those students most likely to graduate in the first place,” Ding continues. “When you can attract these qualified students, the institution’s graduation rate is higher and so are its scores, giving it an even stronger competitive edge.”