3 tech hacks that help universities cut costs (not students)

Technology is helping higher education maintain (or even increase) the services they provide without raising tuition and other costs.

2. Microwebinars: Standardized Info in Bite-Sized Videos

The microwebinar is another potential money-saving tech hack for colleges and universities, leveraging the fact that much of the information that must be conveyed to an individual student is standardized.

Instead of tailoring information for every new student who walks through the office door, you can create short webinars to communicate the basics. This saves time for both students and administrators, which, especially when coupled with automatic appointment scheduling, allows departments to operate with fewer staff.

Consider a financial aid department with five counselors. Nearly every new student orientation with this department includes certain pre-determined information. Rather than a counselor spending 10 minutes to 15 minutes explaining the basics of financial aid to each student, a microwebinar allows students watch a short presentation covering that information. It accomplishes the same job in less time: This webinar could reduce a typical financial aid meeting by 15 minutes, a difference that might allow the department to operate just as effectively with four counselors as it does with five.

3. Telemeetings: Meetings Here, There, or Anywhere

Another increasingly popular technology hack is telemeetings. By using apps like WebEx and join.me, staff can host a telemeeting anywhere at any time. Users can easily pass documents back and forth and screenshare when they need to, making the platform as productive as in-person meetings (and much more convenient).

This makes it possible for employees to work remotely, saving funds that might get spent for on-site workspaces. Imagine you oversee an academic advising department with five advisors. With the ability to meet with students and team members remotely, your department could have three teams working on-site and two working off-site at all times, regularly rotating who’s working where.

The costs associated with two workspaces have been eliminated, staff work-life balance has increased, and you’ve initiated a more modern communications platform for all involved. What’s more, college-age students are already used to communicating through formats such as FaceTime and Skype, so working with advisors on these platforms is an easy sell.

It’s a Win-Win

For many public institutions, funding challenges are here to stay, and that means tough budget decisions aren’t going away any time soon. Leaders and department heads need to scrutinize which offerings, programs, and positions are bringing the most value and decide what corners they can cut.

But remember, technology is on your side. Today’s digital tools not only cut costs for colleges and universities, but also improve processes (and the student experience). Bringing appointment scheduling online, sharing information in a convenient-to-watch microwebinar, and taking advantage of meeting remotely are just a few of the ways you can cut costs without compromising students.

And that’s the win-win all institutions are seeking.

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