When I’m in a state of overwhelm, I’d take almost any solution someone offered to help me out of it.
For some financial aid departments, overwhelm is a constant companion during peak season. Tracking financial aid compliance-data, ensuring accuracy, managing more aid applications than ever before, monitoring inter-department communications, and saving money while doing everything faster can submerge even the most organized administrator or department. Unfortunately, staffers who are busy with many different tasks are more likely to make mistakes.
NASFAA offers a guide to member schools that helps them determine any gaps or weaknesses in the institution or financial aid department’s operations, including efficiency. In many cases, help with navigating regulatory and other compliance requirements can be easily remedied with the right technology.
Below are four reasons to ditch the spreadsheets and join the 21st century with financial aid software:
- Money: Of course, there are the ever-present budget considerations, but as we all know, time is indeed money – and spending a little time choosing the right software technology products for a department’s needs is time and money well spent. The extra time and pay saved by automating with software designed for the job is a bargain compared to the expense of staff. Use software for processes like FAFSA verification, so your staff can spend time on the things software can never do: face to face counseling. [Tweet “#FinAid counseling is priceless. Automated FA software allows admin more time with students.”]
- Time: Another major consideration is the time available to manually enter, track and update spreadsheet data’s frequent changes. New or upgraded software, whether directly installed or a cloud-based software-as-a service (SaaS) offers return on investment (ROI) of time and money. And many software solutions require little staff training to launch. Imagine being able to access monthly reports in a matter of seconds whether for Pell grants, TEACH grants or direct loans. Surely you can find more beneficial uses of FA staff’s time than crunching numbers.
- Compliance: One major concern for financial aid offices is the tracking of compliance related data. While everyone strives for 100%, there are bound to be gaps here and these are usually due to clerical and other errors on the part of busy staff. Reducing these with software technology solutions, such as AutoReconciliation, can improve compliance by helping to quickly sort through reams of data to identify errors. AutoReconciliation makes it possible to reconcile your COD and SIS data to highlight errors in mere seconds.
- Speed: How long does entering, researching, and analyzing all the various types of data take compared to using the latest software handle the job? How about certain processes like FAFSA verification. StudentVerification, an automated software platform, sped up verification processing time by 95% for a California community college. Because time is usually of the essence, being able to quickly determine eligibility, handle verification and package student aid awards for a growing number of applicants will benefit both the school and students.
Click here if you are interested in signing up for a free 30-day trial of AutoReconciliation. Or click here if you would like to see a demo of StudentVerification, our student self-service portal that automates the process of verification.