At Central Michigan University, improving the student experience is a top priority. That is why the university is taking steps to enhance the digital systems that support the journey from prospective student to college graduate.
Everything, from how students learn about colleges to how they apply for admissions, is different today. Students today operate across multiple screens and devices, especially mobile phones and tablets. To engage them where they are, CMU must deliver familiar experiences and behave in patterns that students recognize. And that includes how they communicate with students about their financial aid.
That’s why CMU is partnering with Regent Education. Using the Regent Award Suite, CMU will take the student experiences to a new level through financial aid automation that streamlines financial aid processes and meets students where they are in their journey.
“We’re all very student focused - it’s the whole reason we came into financial aid,” said Sarah Kasabian-Larson, Director of Scholarships and Financial Aid, CMU. “We want to help students get their degrees and help them find alternative paths. We want to be proactive, not reactive, in our student outreach.”
Regent Education’s holistic suite of cloud-based financial aid solutions will enable CMU to automate, customize, and accelerate deployment of the financial aid lifecycle so they can provide the proactive support students need, when they need it. Using the financial aid portal, CMU will deliver timely communications to students in a way that is familiar.
“Ensuring that students can access messages in many ways is important,” said Kasabian-Larson. “We’ll still email them, but the message will also be accessible from inside their portal, and they’ll be able to message us with questions. That’s the kind of experience they’re used to.”
With integration across their student, financial aid, CRM, and advising data, CMU staff can improve the support they provide to students across the recruiting, admissions, and enrollment process. Key capabilities, including electronic signatures and Smartforms that guide students to complete missing items, will improve efficiency and reduce errors.
“Having the ability to do e-signatures inside the portal is a huge bonus,” said Kasabian-Larson. “Currently, students need to print off the document, hand sign it, then upload it or drop it off at the financial aid office. With Regent, students will be able to e-sign documents within the portal and send it to their parents for e-signature as well.”
In addition to the student experience improvements, CMU is also excited about financial aid automation and experiencing improvements in operational efficiency. The CMU Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid team anticipates freeing up 10-30% of their time, allowing them to focus on delivering information to students about their financial aid faster.
CMU is also preparing for big changes to financial aid processes and regulations. With FAFSA Simplification coming later this year, CMU is looking forward to tapping into Regent Education’s deep financial aid experience and expertise as they adopt the new FAFSA on campus.
While it’s still early, the team at CMU is excited about the training and support that the Regent Education team is providing to them.
“So far, the training is going really well - it’s been really useful,” said Kasabian-Larson. “I’m excited because I can see how automated we’re going to be. We spent a lot of time in the student portal, pretending we were students, and I could just see the huge changes they’re going to experience.”
To learn more about how Regent Education can help your institution automate the financial aid life cycle across all enrollment models, please request a demo.