We began working with Gabriel Aguilar from Dedicated to Learning a few years ago. A nonprofit created to offer classes to high school students during the summer time to meet AP requirements for the following year, they were struggling with managing the registration of around 1,000 students. Forms and payments were not integrated, so keeping track of who paid and who didn’t, and matching received payments with the right application was a logistical nightmare.
Gabriel and his team really value the level of service they provide to parents and students they work with, and switching to Regpack allowed them to offer a seamless and professional experience, not to mention improved their accounting and lowered their admin time when it came to managing the details of registration.
Learn more about how Dedicated to Learning and how they are using Regpack to meet their course registration needs!
Hi Gabriel! Tell me a bit about yourself and Dedicated to Learning.
I’m a high school administrator and I’m the summer school principal for Diamond Bar High School. We have a population of students that really take a lot of advanced placement classes and so they need summer school opportunities in order to be able to meet their requirements to qualify for those courses and to be able to make room in their schedule so they can be in marching band, performing arts programs and sports program.
Dedicated to Learning is a nonprofit that we created to establish tuition based classes during the summertime since these classes aren’t paid for, they’re not free public classes. We started this non profit and I’m one of the site principals.
What process were you using to manage registration and payments before Regpack?
I got involved with Regpack because we had done the program a year prior and registered almost 1,000 students using a Google form and PayPal. It was really clunky. We knew our program was making some serious money and people were paying a lot for the program, so we wanted to make sure they had a quality experience when it came time to registering. That’s when I went looking for registration programs that would have an integrated system and I stumbled upon Regpack.
How many courses are you offering?
We offer about 10 different types of courses: math, science, history, technology, elective arts classes. And we have different amounts in each categories. About 10-12 course title offerings and 15-20 individual classes.
What worked when you used Google Docs and what didn’t?
The pros for Google was it was easily accessible. Someone could just click on it and complete the registration process. I ended up embedding a link once they got to the confirmation page and that link told them you’re not done, you need to click here to go to PayPal. That’s how I modified the system, I knew what I wanted to do. It was easy enough to make a form but the downfall was you didn’t have the embedded payment option, kids didn’t have access to their application once they started it, they couldn’t go back to it. So we had a lot of duplicate applications that were filed by the same student.
We were worried about capacity issues as well. I had to check the file to make sure that the file was still collecting data and it wasn’t getting backlogged. When we were first using Google, we were worried about not having enough space in the form or spreadsheet you get once you collect the data. We were essentially taking a tool that wasn’t designed to do what we were doing and we made it work through outside of the box thinking. It was clunky, it wasn’t clean. We had a lot of people that submitted their applications but didn’t go on to the pay page because they had to click “Submit”, and then they saw the page but they had to read the instructions and then make the choice to follow the directions, click to go to PayPal. Then they had to log in to PayPal or create an account if they didn’t have an account. It was really, really clunky.
How has using Regpack improved your workflow?
Drastically. The user experience is so easy and it’s so clean, the first year we ended up posting 4 different sites and students would go to one application for 4 different sites. The conditional logic was set up by Calvin in order for them to chose their campus and then it would only show them the classes offered at their specific campus. The conditional logic helped us so much! Google we didn’t have that kind of control and we needed it.
The next year we stepped it up and we said let’s do different projects for middle school and high school, so it’s a little more streamlined. This year we’ve gone ahead and made a specific project for each school site. Each year we’ve gotten more familiar with how to use the tool. We used automated email triggers to send invoices, updated information on their courses after the fact. The refunding has been really easy for us to be able to give people partial refunds. We’ve had a great amount of support from the payments team. Whenever we had problems with payments or a specific refund we had to issue. They were really quick to help us with anything we needed. So customer service has been great.
Have you noticed a difference in your cashflow and improvement in your accounting?
Oh definitely. There were limitations in PayPal. We had to find the person who had registered and match their payment to them, since they were two separate databases. Some people would have a different name than their parents, so you couldn’t look on PayPal to match the payment. We could add fields with PayPal asking to enter the student’s name and ID number, but it wasn’t a required field and you couldn’t make it a requirement for payment. So some people didn’t put that information and then we had to hunt down the kids and say hey we don’t have your payment but they’d say yes, my parents did pay. Then we had to go through a series of questions to ask them… who paid, what is their name, etc.
It was just unprofessional to go to someone and say you didn’t pay, and then find out that they did. As a business, it looks like you don’t know what you’re doing. That for me, was a big deal. We take our customer service very seriously.
As far as our cash flow, we’ve been able do audits to ensure every student has in fact paid. Before we couldn’t. We got to the point in the first year where we knew we did not collect tuition payments for some kids simply because it was just too difficult to screen through all the data and make it work. We essentially ate some of the cost on that. But since we’ve been using Regpack, we have accurate accounting and that’s helped us out a lot.
How has the customer service experience been with Regpack?
It’s been phenomenal. I send an email and I get a response probably within an hour and a schedule of when someone will call. Even there were times when I needed emergency help and gotten bailed out on Saturday or Sunday whenever there was a flaw or something was wrong with a trigger and we were about to go live. Calvin and Edgar have been helping me for the past couple of years, and they’ve done a phenomenal job. We’re at the point now where we know what we’re doing, the work is minimal compared to the first year when we were building the project. Now we’re able to just duplicate the project and clean it up and update it for the next year.
Technical support has been great and the payments customer support that we’ve gotten has been great. Edgar checks in to see how things are going.
What would you say is the best reason another academic program should consider using a software for their course registration?
The ability to create a customized interface that allows you to build an application that reflects exactly the information you want your customers to fill out and provide you with, to have a streamlined experience for the users to input their data securely and to submit payments securely, that’s important for customer service. And for you, as the user using that data, it’s very clean, very efficient, very well organized, and very, very user friendly. Regpack is intuitive, the way that it works and you don’t have to be a tech genius in order to use the tool but you can always look like you really know what you’re doing with your web page posting and your online application.