Record management for students is still mostly done on paper for many educational institutions. Admissions, student payment records, and more create a huge paper trail.
That paper trail can create headaches for administrators and departments. But when students have a single master file that all departments can access, that leads to fewer errors and increased transparency for both the college and the student. While electronic document management has made great strides across several different industries, it also offers significant benefits for higher education.
Better Tracking of Payments and Fines
It wasn’t that long ago that a student had to trek all over campus with a receipt to show proof of payment for everything from tuition to late fees.
Let’s say that a student has already paid a parking ticket or upgraded their meal plan. If there was a previous hold on the student transcripts or registration for unpaid fees, when those records are stored electronically, any department can verify proof of payment in real time.
Electronic, Indexed Recordkeeping
As we stated above, students create paperwork at every touch point of their education. Many educational institutions still have siloed paper files for student housing, coursework, tuition, financial aid, admissions, and more.
Electronic document management allows for each student to have one master file. Before students enroll, there’s already a paper trail augmented by all those individual departments. Creating one single point of record facilitates a nearly frictionless experience for the incoming student from day one. With a record that begins with the application, anyone dealing with that student record (admissions, financial aid, registrar, academic advisors, counselors, etc.) can reference a single file remotely for greater convenience and a vastly improved relationship with that student.
Improved Security and Encryption
Student records, even when they’re stored in a locked cabinet, aren’t exactly secure. Who has the key, and what if something happens to that building like a flood or a fire? Paper records are also easy to duplicate and hard to locate, neither of which bodes well for privacy and security concerns.
Digital records embargoed behind a firewall allow for better encryption, with permissions set at the login level. That way, everyone has a key who needs one, backups can be safeguarded from floods or fires, and relevant documents can all be found easily in one place.
Reduced Errors From Data Entry
Data entry errors in education aren’t just inconvenient. They’re costly. Take the example of a state auditor whose mistake cost an Oklahoma school district over $2M in their budget. Digitization decreases the opportunity for human error, particularly as it relates to data entry.
Automation and digitization allow your administrative and operations staff to focus more on student-led competencies and improving their education by taking menial tasks off their hands. Also, the less those human beings have to enter and re-enter the same data, the fewer opportunities for repeated errors like inverting digits in a Social Security number, misspelling a last name, etc.
Manage Document Record Requirements On and Offsite
Depending on the record type, various departments are required to retain those records for a certain period of time. An experienced third party can help design and implement a document storage program that’s appropriate for your institution. Companies that can scale to support enterprise levels of document storage and organization further allow departments to store paperwork offsite, with the added convenience of being able to reference it from any location at any time.
Single Source of Truth for Document Versioning
When documents are checked and reviewed, there are often many hands, and eyes, revising and reviewing the same record. With automation all those hands and eyes have access to the same previous versions, as well as the current version. That’s a tremendous convenience when one record has to remain accessible to different users. Versioning those documents is especially important when a student’s records will be updated frequently and over a multiple-year period.
Improve the Efficacy of Alumni Relationships
Future funding for research and campus improvements often falls on the shoulders of your successful alumni. Giving your alumni relations division secure and fast access to alumni documents empowers them for successful fundraising campaigns, post-graduate relationship-building, and more.
Reduce Time, Money, and Unnecessary Redundancy
Where are you duplicating workflows? How much time is your staff wasting with incessant repeated steps, and how can that be improved? QFlow has extensive experience working with higher ed institutions, government agencies, and large healthcare organizations. That experience has given our team insights into workflow solutions, improving efficiencies, eliminating those extra steps, and removing silos that make it unnecessarily difficult for teams to share common documentation.
A SaaS partner like QFlow Systems provides colleges and universities with a seamless electronic document management system. Our ongoing training and hands-on engagement with your staff further give them and you the confidence you all need to put your students on a long-term path toward success and fulfillment.
We can work with large public and enterprise organizations with complex needs to develop a flexible framework to organize and digitize your student records. Connect with a QFlow expert today to get started.