BP LOGIX BLOG

Process Automation Supports Higher Education Students’ Financial Aid Needs

Process Automation

As college becomes increasingly expensive, financial institutions are facing more demand to extend loans to students eager to further their education. The student loan process has become an industry unto itself, and the only way to manage it for students, families, and schools is with effective BPM and workflow. Process Director is already being used by higher education institutions across the United States to deliver effective process automation solutions that help schools deliver financial and academic support to students.

Process Automation for Financial Aid

Financial aid is critical to higher educational institutions to help them meet enrollment quotas, and in a competitive student market, they need to be able to quickly process and deliver aid packages in order to retain admitted applicants. American colleges and universities enrolled almost 20 million students in 2018, and that number is expected to maintain, or even increase, in pace over the coming decade. Of those students, 67% received some form of financial aid that enabled them to pay for tuition, books, and living expenses. Currently, more than 44 million people owe just over $1.5 trillion in student debt. This is a major source of economic activity in our country, but more importantly, it’s a channel for students to change their lives.

Coordinating applications, funding, debt services, and collection requires a huge set of processes that must be integrated among different school departments, students, and sometimes the government. Aid can be funded by the school’s FAFSA offering, through the school’s privately funded scholarships, or through grants. To ensure that schools are making the right moves to fund qualified students, they must navigate this complex web of teams and decision-makers.

The typical applications involved in the wide range of financial aid activities require forms, paper documents, approvals, data sharing among applications and databases, as well as tracking, and general lifecycle management. These are normally unconnected and disjointed pieces within the overall process, but with so much at stake, it’s critical that milestones are achieved and deadlines are met. Process Director creates order among, and between, different data sources and process stages. What results is a system that is inclusive of many disparate participants, enabling consistency, compliance, and efficiency. Ultimately, the process is about speed and efficiency. Process Director applies capabilities for forms management, workflow automation, lightweight application development, and other process-related functions that are already being used by leading educational institutions.

Process Automation for Workflow and Case Management

Workflow and case management features drive the process among the different parties, and Process Director is already helping leading colleges with a platform that provides, among other things:

  • Attractive, web-based, and responsive user interaction;
  • Built-in support for multiple languages, locales, and cultures;
  • Easy integration with a broad array of databases, web services, and applications;
  • Directory synchronization with LDAP, Active Directory, and Windows network security;
  • Full integration with federated authentication services, including Oauth and SAML.
  • Strong encryption of data at rest, and data in-flight;
  • Digital signature of documents;
  • Granular permissions structure, with temporary privilege escalation.

Students and parents initiate the aid process with applications to schools and/or to private banks. Process Director can provide a framework for the initial capture and routing processes with both forms management capabilities, and by applying a case management approach to each application. This gives each student a shareable profile that can store and share relevant documents and data.

Process Automation with Process Director from BP Logix

Process Director integration connectors can identify and pull data from disparate repositories and applications so that meaningful information can be used for better decision-making. The finance department may need personal data; the specific department the students wants to major in may require academic data to determine if the student qualifies for an academic scholarship. With Process Director, schools can create lightweight applications to fulfill their workflow needs, and use these connectors to connect and exchange information with databases that store relevant data. Any data that can be accessed via SQL can be integrated directly into forms and workflow.

As data is updated, or new documents are added to the case file, Process Director applies continuous monitoring to ensure the workflow detects and attaches those documents. Especially as schools work with other sources like FAFSA to determine a students’ loan qualifications, it’s important to be able to see the most current information so it can be shared and used in the decision-making process.

Process Director is optimized for workflow and process automation, and it’s also heavily adopted within the higher education market because it can serve the needs of the school while also delivering benefits to the end user. In this case, that user is the student. The ultimate outcome of the financial aid process is a happy student who can now attend college, and that’s a worthy goal of any product. BP Logix is proud of our part in supporting the efforts of schools to be accessible to students, and giving them a way to be efficient in their goals.

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