Campus Management: Orchestrating an Engaged Campus

Jim Milton, CEO, Campus ManagementJim Milton, CEO The steep rise in students applying for colleges every year has reached unprecedented levels, with the recent academic year witnessing an intake of 20.5 Mn students—which is three Mn more than last year—according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Nevertheless, the budgets and funds allocated for higher education have been dwindling. This necessitates the need for a solid gamut of digital solutions that addresses every stage of the student lifecycle. Gone are the days of sending a raft of mails to universities and having to wait for a reply, unsure if the application even reached the appropriate authorities. In today’s “instant gratification” era, everything happens at the touch of a button. In this backdrop, most private and public universities have a long way to go to catch the eye of prospective students. An agent of compelling change is Campus Management, a three-decade old connoisseur in the higher education sector that leverages technology to guide these institutions to realize business success as well as help them facilitate student achievement. With its profound know-how in technology and the academic sector, Campus Management is helping institutions address the evolving nature of higher education by connecting campuses and improving student outcomes, through a portfolio of cutting-edge software platforms. “Technology is an enabler to resolving many of the challenges,” says Jim Milton, CEO, Campus Management. He identifies “putting the student at the center” to be the foremost objective of his company.

Initially, Campus Management’s primary focus was on building an efficient student information system. In due course, the product tree branched out to include more engaging solutions, such as constituent relationship management software, finance, human resources, payroll solutions, and fund-raising solutions. With Campus Management’s solutions working behind the scenes, the customer becomes the frontman for delivering a transformational student experience.

A Balanced Ecosystem

The company’s products—developed with the university as well as the student in mind—steer the process-chain of a student’s life cycle from admission to graduation. On one side of the equation, students go through the rituals of finding the right institution, checking if their goals and financial budget align with that of the university’s paradigm, applying for it, awaiting acknowledgement of reception and selection, and finally enrollment.

CampusNexus helps institutions realize optimized levels of student retention, one of the critical concerns higher education organizations deal with today

On a parallel plane, universities with their main goal of achieving student success have to be equipped to furnish customized content to a prospective student, provide financial aid, accept online applications, and send update mails. CampusNexus, Campus Management’s indigenous solution, does all of this. It helps university administration to capture relevant information such as aspirations and interests, and frames a complete picture of the student to ensure he/ she receives highly-personalized information and services. For example, a constituent on entering the university for a campus visit feels more welcome as CampusNexus helps produce personalized brochures with facilities and maps that fit the student’s preferences. From providing details on the desired course and extra-curricular activities to tailor-made financial support options, CampusNexus’ analytical engine provides an intricate picture of the student.

Having set-up an amiable environment already through the campus visit, CampusNexus’ online application form enables the student to apply from anywhere. The system immediately sends an auto-generated mail of acknowledgment which if gone unread, will promptly send a reminder text message to the student’s mobile phone. The analytical algorithms, that underpin the software, then make a note of the preferred mode of communication as “text messages” to that particular candidate. In the next step, when the student approaches the financial representative, CampusNexus expedites the process through paperless procedures. The enhanced engagement doesn’t stop here, though. Post admission, CampusNexus helps institutions realize optimized levels of student retention, one of the critical concerns higher education organizations deal with today.

From Enrollment to Employment

With several performance monitoring features, the tool stays at the helm of tracking the student’s grades and recommends advisory consultation if the need arises. CampusNexus also assists with the employment and internship application procedure, suggesting appropriate positions and openings suited for the candidate and speeds up the form-submission process by auto-filling the necessary details. When the time comes for the student to graduate, the CampusNexus platform provides the guidance through a multitude of related tasks, including setting up appointments with the advisor, and signing up for the graduation ceremony.

The company has developed a fund management module that integrates Talisma Fundraising tool with Microsoft Dynamics GP accounting software packages. With options for setting up business rules and criteria that determine the distribution of revenue and expenses across endowments or other funds, the tool allows the administration to manage and put the money to better use. Additionally, the CampusNexus platform that keeps tabs on its alumni’s achievements, helps in building and maintaining relationships with donors for contributions to endowment funds from highly accomplished students.

Campus Management has helped many leading universities with streamlining and automating the multifarious background processes that go with managing the student fraternity. To cite an example, Pennsylvania based YTI Career Institute, which offers career training in programs ranging from business and computer technology to healthcare, culinary arts, and criminal justice, wanted to expand its curriculum by adding a fifth campus dedicated to Motorsports Technology. Up until then, its IT infrastructure was capable of handling the various needs of the university that encompassed around 2,000 students. However, with the addition of the newest curriculum, problems started to arise with financial aid packaging. “No one was processing financial aid the same way,” says Tom Parker, Regional Director of IT, YTI Career Institute. “Most of our programs are on a 21-month schedule, but the new Motorsports Technology program was based on credit hours. In addition, the increasing regulatory complexity of originating, approving, and dispersing aid was taking huge amounts of advisors’ time away from working with students.” Parker recalls that it was at this time, that they came across Campus Management, when YTI’s financial aid director attended CampusInsight, the annual conference in Orlando, Florida.

"Technology is an enabler to resolving many of the challenges"

The Game-Changer

With Campus Management’s team helping YTI deploy the system in a rapid pace, it took only three days for the client to set up a training environment for its financial aid administrators to learn the new automated system. The project was a success and today, it has become a lot easier for YTI’s advisors to package loans, even with increased regulatory complexity. At the end of the day, this translates into a smoother on-boarding and graduating experience for students, which goes a long way in increasing the brand value of the educational institution.

Campus Management has demonstrated its proficiency with more than 2,000 universities and colleges spread across 18 countries. This is testament to the promise the company holds when it comes to delivering an ensemble of solutions that enable universities to transform student experience through every stage—from enrollment to employment.

- Chithra Vijaykumar
    December 14, 2016