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Implementing a Cloud Based Scholarship Management Solution

Implementing a Cloud Based Scholarship Management Solution. About UMSL. University of Missouri – St. Louis Public Metropolitan four-year doctoral research institution Disburse $26M in institutional scholarships annually $3M of that from endowments and gifts. STUDENT PROFILE

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Implementing a Cloud Based Scholarship Management Solution

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  1. Implementing a Cloud Based Scholarship Management Solution

  2. About UMSL • University of Missouri – St. Louis • Public Metropolitan four-year doctoral research institution • Disburse $26M in institutional scholarships annually • $3M of that from endowments and gifts. • STUDENT PROFILE • 13,569 Undergraduates • 3,068 Graduate • 172 Professional

  3. About AcademicWork • AcademicWorks: Scholarship management • AcademicWorks is the leading provider of scholarship management solutions • 300 institutions use AcademicWorks to: • Automatically match students with relevant scholarship opportunities • Facilitate the committee review process • Make scholarship awards • Collect "Thank You" letters from students. • AcademicWorks also provides convenient integration with a campuses existing student information system. 

  4. Requirements Gathering • Objectives • Clearly define and prioritize the problems you are trying to solve. (Ex. Simplify the application process for students, improve compliance, enhance the reviewer experience, collect “Thank You” Letters, etc.) • process • Outline your current process and define the flow of your desired process so you have a clear roadmap of what you wish to accomplish as a result of the implementation. • INTEGRATION • What other systems will your new process require input from or provide output to? How will the new business process accommodate this? • BUILD CONSENUS • Who are the individuals that will be approving the process and potentially interacting with the new system? How can you involve them early in the process? • TIMELINE • When will the new process need to be in place to best accommodate your next scholarship application cycle?

  5. UMSL’s Objectives • COMBINE STUDENT FINANCIAL AID AND DEPARMENTAL PROCESSESS • Students were applying to Student Financial Aid and Departments of their Major • Minimize Application Requirements for Students • Increase student participation • Ensure students were considered for all scholarships • Import student information system data • Reduce application requirements for students • Eliminate the need for manual verification

  6. Review Process • View Endowment documents • To ensure donor’s intent was understood • Endowment documents were digitized • Understand departmental process • Collect application forms • Committee assignment • Scoring rubrics • Complete opportunity worksheet • Reduce application requirements for students • Eliminate the need for manual verification

  7. Building Consensus • Financial aid director • Dean of enrollment • Vice Chancellor for University relations • Functional users • (student financial aid & Department) • Individuals Familiar with Existing Systems • Campus it • System it

  8. Why Not Students & Donors? • We needed to move quickly • Current application was unstable • Methods of delivering data to departments were complex and unfriendly • Limited donor interaction with system • While donors are important to our scholarship program, they are not a core system users • Only one viable solution • AcademicWorks was the only product that was viable due to the functional and integration requirements

  9. Key Decisions • Scholarship program • Donor Involvement • Student financial aid makes awards • Departments would not be able to make awards through the system. They simply rate students and identify the ones they would like to see awarded. • Student financial aid owns the project • Student Financial Aid would be solely responsible for system set up and maintenance

  10. Implementation • Create your project team • Project Team should include representatives from Financial Aid, Advancement, IT (Authentication), IT (Data Import) and Departmental Users. • Stay on schedule • Book a weekly meeting time that stays consistent throughout the implementation process. Plan on having a regular weekly meeting both with the vendor and separately with your implementation team. • TRAINING • Develop a training plan for each role of user within the system. If select types of users will not be using the system immediately you may wish to schedule their training closer to the time they will actually be in the system. • TESTING • Navigate the system as each type of system user prior to go-live as it will help you identify areas where you may wish to modify instructional text or nomenclature. Ask for student volunteers to create test accounts as well. • COMMUNICATIONS • Send update emails to system users during the implementation process to remind them that there will be change in the coming cycle. If possible, conduct a soft launch with a smaller group before your marketing efforts kick-in.

  11. Project Team • Associate director, student financial aid • Project manager from it • It database resource for writing feed • It authentication resource for shibboleth • Future opportunity administrators • References for process • Additional reviewers for data entry • Consensus builders within Units

  12. Training • Make Training Accessible • Administrator training doesn’t need to be public • Demos/Tutorials for students do need to be public • Define how to use the system for your organization • Documentation discusses setup fields and defines their use for UMSL • Defines the process and how the system will be used at UMSL

  13. Testing • Testing, testing, & more testing • Test using your existing process first • Then try everything • Involve actual users • People unfamiliar with your process will lean more on instructions and help you identify deficiencies • Have some test data in your system • Make sure you have multiple applications and scholarship opportunities in the system when testing

  14. Communications • Advertising application • References • Reviewers • Students • Recipients • Non Recipients • Opportunity / system administrators • Follow up & Cycle management

  15. Time Savers • Templates • Understand system-delivered templates. If you don’t understand how the template is used, don’t touch it until you do unless you absolutely have to • Create templates and guidelines that can be used to easily develop standard solutions for repeated setup (ex. Communications) • KISS principal • Keep setup as reusable as possible from year to year • Do not overlook the details

  16. Gotchas • It always takes longer than you think • You will find issues with your process • You will find functional gaps in the software • Decisions now impact the future • Understand the full impact of a change before you make it

  17. Post Implementation • Training resources • Develop resources for training new administrators and reviewers. Annual turnover can be very high and you will likely have a new group of administrators every year to train • Marketing Plan • Your student population will change every year so you will need to continually market to reach your next cohort of students. • ANNUAL PROCESS REVIEW • Conduct an annual review of the process with your vendor and project implementation team to discuss what is working and what needs improvement. • CONTINUED IMPROVEMENT • Allocate time and resources each year to implement enhancements and features that were not turned on or available during the initial implementation process. • RECORD ARCHIVING • What process will you use to archive your application, review and award data to make it available for audit and reporting purposes

  18. Rollout at UMSL: September 2013 • OSP & EODS • Allowed us to guinea pig system in real time • Used just about every feature of the system • General Application • Opportunity-specific questions • References • Reviewers & Rubrics • Awarding • Renewal (Renewal Management Module

  19. Rollout at UMSL: Oct. 2013 - Present • Implementation with units on old web application plus a couple of strategic additions • Student Financial Aid • College of Education • College of Business Administration + Disciplines not on common application • Pierre Laclede Honors College (NEW) • College of Arts & Sciences Office Awards (NEW)

  20. Rollout at UMSL – Going Forward • Summer 2014 • College of Optometry • Renewal Management Module Setup • Cycle Management Decisions • Fall 2014 • Remainder of College of Arts & Sciences • College of Fine Arts & Communications • College of Nursing • Study Abroad (PLHC, CoBA, and ISP) • Spring 2015 • Renewal Management Module • Fall 2015 • Anyone who’s left

  21. Questions & Contact • Academicworks • Brandon Phipps, CEO • (888)376-4252, Service & Sales • info@academicworks.com • Jason bornhop • Associate Director, Student Financial Aid • University of Missouri – St. Louis • bornhopj@umsl.edu

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