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Kilgore College: Improving Scholarship Management with Regent Fund

, | June 13, 2023 | By

Kilgore College is a learner-centered institution serving over 6,000 students in eastern Texas. With a mission that focuses on “student access, success, and completion via collaborative partnerships,” Kilgore College strives to support its students in every way possible. And a big part of that support comes from institutional scholarships. 

However, the process of awarding and re-awarding institutional scholarships is highly manual, with staff spending up to 75% of their time managing spreadsheets. To further complicate matters, the college relies on a scholarship committee to review applicants and decide how best to allocate their limited funds. But the review process is time-consuming, and finding a time when everyone on the committee is available is difficult at best. 

Jackie Kelley, Financial Aid Director at Kilgore College, believes that “financial aid is a bigger way to impact people’s lives.” But their manual processes are inefficient, leaving 10%+ of funds on the table

Jackie knew that, in order to maximize enrollment, they needed to also maximize their institutional scholarships. And to do so, something needed to change. She began to evaluate new scholarship management solutions, and was immediately “impressed” by what Regent Education had to offer. Unlike other solutions they evaluated, Regent Fund provided the flexibility and automation that Kilgore College needed to award - and reward - scholarships efficiently and effectively. The team selected Regent Fund, and while they are currently in the midst of their implementation, the team is already realizing benefits.

No More Spreadsheets!

Managing scholarships is currently a highly-manual process. The scholarship coordinator lives in spreadsheets, spending up to 75% of her day manually managing them. These manual processes are not only inefficient and time-consuming, but they also prevent the scholarship coordinator from spending time with students. 

With Regent Fund, everything is going to change. The solution’s built-in logic and integrated student data will enable Kilgore College to eliminate their spreadsheet-based processes by automating the awarding process based on institution-specific criteria they create and monitor. Regent Fund will also make it easier for the team to gain a holistic view of eligible students and available awards, making it quicker and easier to award - and re-award - scholarships to the students who need them most.

No more scholarship committee!

The role of the scholarship committee was to help the financial aid office make decisions about which applicants should receive awards. And when additional scholarship dollars became available, they helped to prioritize the applicants. This process worked, but it was very time-consuming for everyone involved. And it was becoming increasingly difficult for Jackie and her team to find meeting times when everyone could attend.

Jackie knew they needed a solution that made it easier to maximize scholarship awards, and Regent Fund fit the bill. Unlike other solutions the college evaluated, Regent Fund will provide the flexibility to re-run and re-award scholarships as circumstances change, without restarting the entire process. As scholarship funds become available, the team will have the ability to tap into the pool of previous applicants and determine which ones match the criteria. Then, using weighting and ranking capabilities, they can easily assess who should receive the funds, without the need to schedule a committee review. 

Buy-in From the Start

From day one of the evaluation process, Jackie included peers from across the institution, including the Dean of Enrollment Management, the VP of Student Services, the scholarship coordinator, scholarship specialist, and IT. Her goal was to ensure that they not only had visibility into the solutions she was evaluating, but also that they could weigh-in on the decision.

After the first demo of Regent Fund, Jackie said the team was “in awe and really excited about the product.” Other solutions the college evaluated were rigid, adhering to hard dates and inflexible processes. This was not the case with Regent Fund. The team immediately recognized the flexibility Regent Fund provides, and the benefits they could realize such as eliminating manual processes, saving time, and disbanding the scholarship committee. 

Partnering for Success

Together, Kilgore College and Regent Education are helping the college to eliminate their manual, spreadsheet-based processes and freeing-up valuable staff and committee time so they can focus on the students. Jackie said they “could not ask for a better team,” and that they are benefitting from deep experience and expertise of the Regent Education team.

Financial Aid is complex, but because the Regent Education team are experts, they are helping Jackie to successfully navigate the implementation with internal stakeholders and overcome IT-related concerns. 

Regent Fund is on schedule to go-live later this year, and nobody is more excited than Jackie. “I’m just ready for it to be done so I can go in and see it and play with it!”

View our on-demand webinar, An Introduction to Regent Fund to learn how we can help your institution eliminate manual processes and maximize every institutional scholarship dollar.