How Stanford is using analytics to detect fraud and abuse

How do you identify fraud, waste, and abuse when your procurement office handles more than a million transactions a year and $2.2 billion in disbursements? Manually, if you’re Stanford University, just like most institutions of higher education do. But, faced with a changing audit landscape, the California school is now looking to analytics to help detect transaction irregularities.

The need for a new approach is rooted in two factors, one old and one new. First, the sheer volume of transactions makes it impossible for the university to monitor them all manually. “We knew our existing approach just wasn’t sustainable: The number of individuals who can audit these transactions is small,” said Ben Moreno, chief procurement officer for Stanford. “Obviously, we can’t look at every transaction, so we audit only a certain number of transactions on the back end to see if they fall within our standards for federal regulations, our admin guide, our policies, and procedures.” In the case of business expenses, for example, Stanford has been looking at only 40 percent to 50 percent of the transactions that come through the procurement office.

Second, the university noticed that some of the external auditors, especially for government-funded programs, had abandoned their old sampling approach in favor of analytics software that looked at an entire year or two of transactions. “Their analytics software was picking out trends, picking out outliers, and really focusing on certain transactions,” said Moreno. “We started to have concerns around the level of due diligence that we could achieve doing our own self-audits with a manual approach.” That’s when he reached out to FICO, an analytics software company, with an idea to use their experience with algorithms to help the university score and profile every transaction in a standardized way.…Read More

Data analytics initiative aims to increase retention

Agreement Gives McGraw-Hill Education exclusive rights to represent ZogoTech’s data analytics, platform, applications and services

McGraw-Hill Education, a learning science company, and ZogoTech, a provider of predictive data analytics services to higher education institutions, have entered into an agreement providing McGraw-Hill Education exclusive rights to sell the data firm’s proven services.

The agreement signals McGraw-Hill Education’s continued investment in learning science and data analytics as keys to improving student outcomes, and its desire to help bring ZogoTech’s outstanding data science to scale nationwide.

“We’re excited to team up with ZogoTech to bring its cutting edge analytics and services to colleges looking to make more data-informed decisions,” said Jerome Grant, SVP of Enterprise Services for McGraw-Hill Education’s higher education group. “As a learning science company, we’re constantly looking at the most impactful research and searching for innovators who are finding new ways of improving results for schools.”…Read More

Trend: Online learning going personal

Personalized support and advising achieved through new advances in technology and data analytics are all recommended for helping today’s online students.

In a recent online learning panel, innovative institutions that have achieved measurable success in their online learning programs waxed poetic on how harnessing technology to bolster personalized learning experiences is the key to online learning’s success; specifically in helping students advance toward their educational goals and create a culture of success.

The panel was part of A recent webinar hosted by The New Media Consortium (NMC) called “Getting Personal,” and featured insight from college and university IT and technology leaders on how advancements in online learning environments and adaptive learning technologies are making it possible to support learners’ individual paths.

“There are so many different things involved when you start to talk about personalized learning and putting those tools together,” said Dr. Vanessa Kenon, lecturer at the college of Education & Human Development at the University of Texas at San Antonio. “We’re trying to start from the beginning when students come in for the admissions process…getting all their degree plans laid out so that they can actually see how long it’s going to take them and what the cost is for them if they decide to make changes. It’s an approach that integrates those degree plans with the students getting the right kind of advising they need and a more personalized approach to getting them in the right courses…and try to get them to finish in four.”…Read More

Campus Management launches Retention360 for higher education

Cloud-based service to monitor student behavior in effort to drive improved engagement and increase retention

Campus Management Corp., a provider of enterprise software solutions and services for higher education, has released Retention360™, powered by CampusNexus, an innovative Retention-as-a-Service (RaaS) offering.

The subscription-based student success solution combines the power of a cloud-based predictive engine with the high-touch services of subject-matter experts on retention strategies, communications and student success activities.

“More than ever, today’s institutions are compelled to deliver superior retention and successful student outcomes,” said Jim Milton, CEO of Campus Management. “To address this challenge, we preconfigured CampusNexus CRM’s highly acclaimed retention functionality to operate in lock-step with an institution’s existing tools, thereby merging the collective knowledge of an institution with the individualized goals for students and establishing individual communications plans to ensure students remain on track. We believe that proactive engagement and intervention strategies will allow institutions to engage students before they disengage.”…Read More

Students speak up about learning analytics

New survey reveals that instant feedback through learning analytics access could help students’ academic performance.

learning-analyticsStudents’ desire for instant feedback, such as the kind they receive through social media, could be a significant asset when it comes to studying with the help of learning analytics technology, new research suggests.

Eighty-seven percent of surveyed college students said having access to learning analytics on their academic performance can have positively impact their learning experience, according to “The Impact of Technology on College Student Study Habits,” the third report in an annual series conducted by McGraw-Hill Education and fielded by Hanover Research.

This could suggest that students seek the same immediate feedback in the classroom as they do in social media and that this can be beneficial to learning.…Read More

Goldi(IT) and the Three Bears: A tale of finding the right storage tool for the data job

Just like you wouldn’t use a sledgehammer to hang a picture nail, university IT must find the right tools for the analytics challenge.

IT-storage-dataData analytics has become commonplace on college campuses as universities have developed into repositories for all sorts of data focusing on everything from student success and recruitment, to enrollment management, faculty retention, finance and budgeting. And those are merely the administrative records collected. Universities also house some of the largest research institutions in the country, resulting in the creation of tremendous amounts of data on a daily basis.

However, storage can be the most prohibitive obstacle in creating a data analytics system. As the application of data grows, so too will the volume collected. University IT departments will have to find ways to handle the massive amounts of data that needs to be stored and accessed.

But in a time of shrinking budgets, universities are hard pressed to find ways to effectively manage this deluge.…Read More

Can predictive analytics ID “likelihood to thrive” on campus?

Research applies big data to correlate qualitative features of U.S. college campuses to individual thriving and completion.

analytics-thrivevibeffect, a family-centered college-decision framework that helps students identify campuses where they’re most likely to thrive, has published a scientifically peer-reviewed paper on how predictive analytics can determine the campus features that most contribute to an individual’s likelihood to thrive and complete.

“The majority of research in the field of higher education attainment focuses on indicators of weakness (or dropout) or indicators of persistence,” said Elena M. Cox, CEO of vibeffect. “We challenged ourselves to scientifically define and prove what drives thriving on an individual level by treating campuses as an ‘eco-system’ made up of varying social, academic and individual qualities.”

The research reveals that every individual has unique attributes that partially determine their potential for success. Combined with the features of college ecosystems, vibeffect is able to identify the settings wherein individual students are most likely to succeed and thrive in their postsecondary educational careers.…Read More

3 ways to bring online learning back to life

Combating “the [online] learning dead” through self-management and personal responsibility.

online-learning-tiredIs educating students online looking more and more like a scene from “The Walking Dead?” More specifically, is online learning becoming a lifeless learning model, devoid of human interaction and social connection? It seems that way.

Today’s online students, a large population of more than 7 million strong, may be on the verge of becoming educational “zombies.” After all, many courses see students perfunctorily toggle between eBooks, lifeless discussion boards and recorded lectures without ever actually interacting with a human.

It’s time to help online learners come alive and reengage educationally. We need to “humanize” online learning again by building programs that support the core competencies of social and emotional human development: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision making.…Read More

Jenzabar expands suite to support student success

Jenzabar College Readiness Inventory to uncover critical factors impacting retention and persistence at individual higher education institutions

student-successJenzabar, Inc., a provider of software, strategies, and services for higher education, has added to its Student Success suite of technology and services designed specifically for higher education.

The Jenzabar College Readiness Inventory is an online student survey and analysis tool that uncovers the hard-to-find non-cognitive factors impacting retention, persistence, and completion at a particular institution.

Jenzabar College Readiness Inventory aims to identify and engage at-risk students based on self-reported data analyzed across seven key psychometric scales that are proven to correlate with student persistence. The tool makes it easier to find effective ways to improve student retention and outcomes.…Read More