How Real-Time Attendance Impacts Your Financial Aid Office

Financial aid offices are essential to the operations of higher education institutions. They handle tasks critical to the success of both the institution and their students. The office of Federal Student Aid provides more than $120 billion in grant, work-study, and loan funds each year to help pay for college or career school. As we constantly are reminded, the majority of postsecondary students rely on financial aid to afford their education. This means a high-performing financial aid office is a necessity for institutions, as it is responsible for processing FAFSA applications, grants, loans, and scholarships.

These processes are incredibly time sensitive, especially at the start of new cohorts or modules, meaning financial aid offices work hard to finish them on time to avoid complications for students and/or the institution.

In career colleges, financial aid offices typically take a more hands-on approach when handling financial aid. Many processes require student signatures to complete, which is why financial aid offices are constantly trying to track down students. And because they don’t have real-time visibility into whether or not a student is actually in class, financial aid staff are forced to walk to the class the student should be in at that time to get their signature.

Not only is this an arduous task that can become incredibly time consuming depending on the number of students whose signatures are required, it can waste time and energy when it turns out the student is absent from class.

And this year, with the widespread transition to blended learning models, it’s become even more difficult for financial aid staff to get ahold of students now that campus presence has been intentionally scaled back.

Knowledge Of Who Is In Class At Any Time

Through real-time visibility into student attendance, financial aid offices can spare themselves the need to find students. Instead, they can know with confidence whether or not a student is in class, and make a single trip to the classroom to get their signatures. In the case that a student is absent, financial aid offices can save their trip to the classroom and instead reach out to students to set up a time to meet.

For example, equipped with real-time attendance in the CourseKey platform, the financial aid office can see instantly if the student they need to meet with is checked into class, giving them the information needed to take necessary steps with certainty.

Real-time attendance is especially useful for financial aid offices at institutions with blended or hybrid learning models. In CourseKey, financial aid offices can see instantly if a student is active in an online or on-ground course, making it easier to plan when to physically meet with a student to get their signature on important documents.

More Successful Outreach

Along with providing real-time attendance data, the CourseKey platform allows financial aid offices to send general messages to the student body through their phones. This is a great way to remind students that they need to pay the financial aid office a visit and has a higher chance of reaching the student than an email or phone call does.

Depending on how an institution chooses to use CourseKey, the financial aid office can even have a direct personal messaging channel to send messages to a student’s CourseKey app. Schools that have employed this method have seen an increase in responsiveness by students and have had an easier time getting students in contact with the financial aid office.

Saving Time And Headaches

Processing financial aid in the form of grants, loans, and scholarships is typically tied to a strict timeline, which is why many financial aid offices resort to physically tracking down students for their cooperation. Instead of hoping that students are present when they visit the classroom, financial aid staff can leverage technology to know instantly with real-time attendance data whether or not a student is on campus and checked in. Paired with a channel to reach students directly, financial aid offices can increase their likelihood of reaching students earlier, therefore maximizing their chances to complete financial aid processes on-time.

Taking care of financial aid operations in a timely manner spares students the worry of not receiving the correct financial aid they’re expecting and enables institutions to stay on top of their financial processes.

To learn more about how your financial aid office will benefit from CourseKey’s real-time attendance, request a custom demo by filling out the form below.

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