The Cost of Paper In Career Education: Why It’s Time To Go Paperless
Bank statements, insurance paperwork, and other official documents now all feature one little check box at the bottom: “Opt-in to paperless statements.”
Companies of all sizes and industries are starting to prioritize paperless to reduce overhead costs and better reach young audiences—who prefer digital communication and rarely even own printers.
Going paperless is good for everyone. Not only is paper production harmful to the environment, but it also requires significant staff management time and detracts from the student experience.
In this blog, we’ll explore how going paperless benefits students, staff, the bottom line, and the earth.
Paper processes detract from student experience
In 2023, even students who don’t consider themselves tech-savvy grew up using technology.
According to a recent survey, 86% of career education schools want to improve mobile experience-NOT paper experience.
Tracking skills, attendance, and grades digitally creates the modern experience that today’s students expect. Plus, most digital tracking solutions include a student portal. When students can access their progress in real-time on their mobile devices, it motivates them to stay on track with their educational journey.
Paper requires significant staff management time
One of the biggest drawbacks of using paper is the amount of staff management time that it requires. From filing documents to searching for lost files, managing paper can be a time-consuming process. At some schools, staff are simply never able to catch up. Instead, they have piles and piles of paper just sitting there, waiting to be filed.
Plus, anytime a human is managing data or files, it opens your school up to compliance risks due to human error. If something is misfiled when your auditor arrives, it may be grounds for them to ask for additional files, giving them opportunity to find additional human error.
By implementing paperless attendance, progress tracking, and satisfaction surveys, schools can significantly reduce the amount of time spent on filing paper while also reducing compliance risks. Instead, staff can spend time on higher-value tasks like student support and gain peace of mind during audits that every document is where it’s supposed to be.
Paper is expensive
On average, schools can spend approximately $100 daily on paper alone, not to mention ink costs. Plus, storing paper files can consume valuable real-estate, or schools have to out source document storage, costing anywhere from $30-60k. This does not include the administrative cost of managing paper files and manual data entry. Consider staff salaries versus how much time they spend on file and data management.
For example, one school implemented CourseKey to remove paper sign-in sheets and automate grade transfers. CourseKey removed 866 hours annually of data entry from instructors, saving approximately $17,333.33 in manual labor. This gives instructors time back to focus on student coaching, which is a much more valuable use of their time. In addition, CourseKey repurposed 520 hours annually from attendance reconciliation, which has allowed schools to reallocate two attendance coordinators to intervention/retention and save $10,400 in time spent on attendance management.
So when considering the impact of paper on your bottom line, think about more than just the cost of materials. Consider how much you’re spending on labor costs. By reducing paper usage, you’re also saving staff time and empowering them to focus on higher-value tasks
Paper is bad for the earth
Finally, paper consumption is bad for the earth. Every year, millions of trees are cut down to produce paper products. These trees are critical to our ecosystem as they absorb carbon dioxide from the air, help to prevent soil erosion, and provide a habitat for wildlife. By reducing paper consumption, schools can help to preserve our natural resources and protect the environment for future generations of students.
Reducing pesky paper problems with CourseKey
CourseKey helps schools improve student experience, operations, and the bottom line by eliminating paper sign-in sheets, skills tracking logs, and surveys. At Divers Institute of Technology (DIT), reducing paper also led to a better audit experience.
“We used to have to show auditors inches and inches of paper,” said Michelle Perrigo, Director of Compliance at DIT. “In our most recent VA audit, we gave the auditor an option between folders of data or the CourseKey report, and she chose the CourseKey report. She gave us kudos for having a system that would timestamp everyone and report down to the minute. With CourseKey, it’s quick and easy to pull a date or date range and specific attendance records. It’s exactly the kind of thing our auditors ask for. It’s made our auditors happier and reinforces that we made the right decision with CourseKey.”
This Earth Month, make the commitment to reducing your paper consumption, and you’ll see the benefits roll in. Request a demo to get started.