For over a decade, potential Royal Roads University (British Columbia) students have been able to submit their applications for admission online. But Royal Roads’ response to applicants had remained paper-based until recently.
In the past, students accepted for admission were sent a letter of offer by email and Canada Post, and then had to return a signed acceptance form by fax, mail, or email with scanned attachment to secure a place in the incoming class. The time-consuming, cumbersome paperwork process created issues for enrollment management. Students who had been offered admission had a window during which their place in the class was held; outgoing offers effectively reserved a seat in the program, which had to expire or be declined before other offers could be sent.
Behind the scenes, the process looked like this: Offers of admission had to be manually generated using a complicated, error-prone mail-merge program. Once students responded and accepted the offer, it took typically a week to process through admissions, financial aid, and the registrar’s office. Students then received confirmation of their registration.
Darryl Karleen, a business analyst and project manager at the university, worked with admissions and enrollment personnel to develop a better way. “There were a lot of inefficiencies within the process of sending and receiving offers in a timely manner,” says Karleen. So the university’s IT team partnered with Unit4 to leverage its Agresso Education product.
The first phase of automation began in 2009, with a system that allowed applicants to apply using a web-friendly and Agresso Education-integrated application. The second phase culminated in the release of the Notice of Offer Wizard in April 2013. Manual work previously associated with this process has all but been eliminated, saving the department approximately 18 hours per week, or about $16,000 a year. On top of that is the cost savings from not having to mail more than 2,000 offers and more than 200 denial letters each year.
Applicants interact with this new tool to immediately accept, defer, or decline offers, as well as pay deposits to hold their seats—a process that used to take up to a week.
The Agresso system also provides students with waitlist alerts. In the past, waitlist offers were handled manually, resulting in frequent phone calls from applicants wondering if space might soon become available. Now, alerts are generated automatically and waitlisted applicants can check their status online.
Royal Roads is now starting its third and final phase of the automation process. Applicants who have accepted their offer will be automatically admitted based on preset rules. Waitlisted applicants will be admitted automatically as space becomes available.
“We are already seeing the time saving and will most likely see savings of one FTE of effort each year through this automation and efficiency project,” says Karleen.
Applications are being accepted for the 2013 Models of Efficiency Winter Program. Apply now!