Technology in financial aid affects several metrics within your office. It can affect touches of a student’s file, it can affect time to complete verification, but it can also affect a student’s ability and ease with which they can complete the financial aid process. Is your school or office inadvertently causing reduced enrollment by not embracing new technology? Here are a few tips for assessing technology needs:
- Become a student – Use your down time to complete the financial aid process from the perspective of a student. Complete a FAFSA, turn in paperwork, use your student portal, and see your aid “disburse” in the same way your students do. Does the process seem easy to complete and understand or are there inefficiencies and confusion along the way?
- Create a contest – Put a flier in the dining hall and challenge your students to return that piece of paper to the financial aid office without dropping it off at the front desk. How do they do it? Does a student in 2017 have the ability to send a fax from anywhere on campus?
- Track the data – Find out how long it takes a student to complete a file from start to finish. How long does it take your office to review it? Making changes to your processes doesn’t help if you don’t know how it helped. Convincing the college that investing in your office is easier when you have data to track how it benefits the college. Faster review times can mean more time for you to spend talking with student and families. Quicker turnaround times means disbursements can be done sooner.
Remember that everything your office does is a process and every single process can be done more efficiently with the right tool!
Contact HEAG for assistance with assessing the technology needs in your financial aid office.