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Serensoft and Financial Aid


Serensoft begins most client relationships by talking about business processes at the departmental or institutional level.

No two Financial Aid offices have exactly the same needs with regard to administrative workflow. There are certainly commonalities with regard to Federal grant and loan programs, but differences abound. Serensoft works directly with Financial Aid Directors and their teams (usually through the IT Department) to create unique and individualized administrative computing solutions... tailored to how you use information. We frequently do this by leveraging the technology that you already have at the institution.

Listening

Serensoft begins by holding a meeting with the entire Financial Aid team (this could include Financial Services and/or Enrollment Management). In this first meeting, we usually spend relatively little time speaking about the Administrative System itself. Rather, we listen for information about Financial Aid processes and data. Initially it is more important to learn about how the Institution, and particularly Financial Aid, uses information to conduct their business.

We eventually address the Administrative System, when the time is right. Talking about the system without first learning how you use data is like talking about a steak sandwich without first determining if someone is hungry, thirsty or tired... or a vegetarian!


Strategic Indicators for Financial Aid

There are numerous strategic indicators that help an institution determine the effectiveness of Financial Aid - and help focus Financial Aid resources in the future. Some are:

  • % of students with institutional scholarships and fellowships
  • % of students with institutional scholarships and fellowships by year (frosh, soph, jr, sr)
  • % of students with institutional loans
  • Institutional scholarships and fellowships as a % of total tuition and fee income
  • Institutional scholarships and fellowships as a % of total current fund expenditures
  • Tuition and fees per undergraduate student (private)
  • Tuition and fees per in-state undergraduate student (public)
  • Tuition and fees per out-of-state undergraduate student (public)
  • % of students with College work-study jobs by year (frosh, soph, jr, sr)

    Many of these Strategic Indicators are taken from the book "Strategic Indicators for Higher Education 1996" by Barbara E. Taylor and William F. Massey - Published by Peterson's, Princeton, NJ

There are hundreds of indicators that will have varying degrees of importance to different institutions. Through ProvidenceSM, Serensoft will help you to not only identify them, but also extract the information in formats that reveal the patterns crucial to informed decision-making.

How Reliable and Complete is your Data?

In order to answer questions like these, the Financial Aid office must first be tracking the data elements that make up these strategic indicators. Is all information from all departments at the institution finding its way into the system? Particularly in Financial Aid, Federal government reporting requirements necessitate meticulous data integrity. In many cases there are isolated "islands of information" located around the institution sitting on desktop databases or in Excel spreadsheets — information that is NOT finding its way into the system! This could be information on people connected to the institution, prospective or current students, that Financial Aid doesn't know about. Is this really optimizing the use of the IT investment?

Serensoft can help you determine if "islands of information" exist at your institution — and help you design a cost-effective path to making your data reliable and complete, enterprise-wide.

How Easily can you Extract Data When and Where you need it?

So, your data is complete and reliable. It's all in there. You can look up information as you need it.

Meaningful information... information that allows you look at relationships between multiple pieces of data, (like the above strategic indicators) is much more complex and usually falls on the shoulders of a person in your institution who understands SQL (Structured Query Language), or another method of data extraction.

Without an intuitive and powerful ad-hoc reporting solution effectively deployed across all offices and campuses of your institution, you will not be optimizing access to the information that will help you run the institution most effectively.

The reporting solutions Serensoft provides will enable Financial Aid to quickly and easily track who is eligible for and receiving aid, loan payment status, or easy production of government-required reports — ultimately enabling Financial Aid to maximize the investment the institution has made in its Administrative System.

Why Serensoft?

Technology... Administrative Systems, Web, Reporting Tools (BI)... are all just things that are supposed to help the Financial Aid office achieve their goals. Serensoft helps institutions to apply these tools to best serve their purposes, and reach their institutional objectives... frequently with technology that you already have.

Technology — Administrative Systems, Web, BI Reporting Tools — these are all just tools to help your Financial Aid office achieve its goals. Serensoft will help your institution to apply these tools to best serve its purposes, and reach its institutional objectives frequently with technology that you already have.