EMPOWER SIS is Attending the AACRAO Annual Meeting March 26-28th. Come see us at booth #608.

6 Best Practices for Managing Financial Aid Disbursements

Financial aid disbursements

Financial hardship is the number one barrier that prevents students from enrolling and graduating college. Financial aid packages can make or break enrollment decisions, playing a crucial role in admissions strategies. Offering comprehensive financial aid disbursements is one of the best ways for institutions to support student success. By analyzing and updating financial aid processes, schools can maximize the use of available funds to keep students on track to achieve their goals.

Using a student information system (SISwith financial aid management capabilities can be a game changer for your financial aid office. Here are some ways an SIS will transform your processes and better manage financial aid disbursements for students.

1. Empower Students With Self-Service

Self-service allows students to access their account information at any time, from anywhere. This makes it easier to manage loans, make tuition payments on-time, avoid over-borrowing, and meet scholarship requirements. In turn, they can focus on learning and stay on-track to graduation. Across institutional operations, self-service can also enhance advising, degree tracking, and more.

2. Streamline The Application Process

Technology has completely changed how students apply for and manage financial aid disbursements. Gathering, organizing, and submitting the necessary information can be challenging. Institutions can ease the process with an SIS that makes the experience seamless. 

Financial aid disbursement software can shorten the time it takes to complete applications, reduce application errors, and improve accuracy. The faster applications are processed, the sooner applicants will access financial aid offers and commit to enrollment. Financial aid management software also enables financial aid offices more information to distribute awards effectively, equitably, and reliably. 

3. Integrated Cross-Campus Data

An SIS offers a centralized platform that houses all billing information and financial aid disbursement under one roof. Staff can navigate and manage vast numbers of scholarship applications without the need for mountains of paperwork. They can manage all types of aid and loans in one place, while syncing data related to student records, billing, and admissions in real-time. 

4. Student Intervention

Well-timed interventions can make all the difference for students who struggle to meet the requirements of the aid applications and scholarships they need to stay enrolled. With the right software, institutions can equip staff with the insights they need to keep students on track. Schools might also consider reevaluating punitive measures for unpaid bills, like withholding transcripts for outstanding balances. Implementing student-first measures can keep students from putting their education and future careers on hold.

5. Incorporate Basic Needs

Financial aid helps make tuition more affordable, but many institutions have expanded the extent of their support to cover basic needs. This means covering costs like on-campus housing and dining within financial aid disbursements. Financial aid offices may also consider setting aside some of the annual budget to supply emergency funding.

6. Be Transparent

If prospective students and their families don’t have clear and accurate information about the cost of tuition, they can’t make an accurate financial plan. Ensure that all information being presented on campus websites and within aid offers are updated and accurate. Make sure students understand the differences between student loans, grants, and private scholarships. They should have a complete breakdown of their financial aid disbursements.

Choose EMPOWER: A Student Aid Management Solution

Financial aid is the most important deciding factor in enrollment for students. Using top-of-the-line financial aid management software makes it simple to navigate the award process from start to finish for both students and staff. Contact us for a demo of our software.