Despite the rapid and ever-present technological advancements around us, many schools still rely on manual and paper-based processes to enroll their students—and their enrollment numbers suffer as a result.
Therefore, schools should replace these inefficient, time-consuming, and costly practices with a paperless enrollment system that will automate, digitize, and streamline their enrollment process.
The benefits of relying on paperless student enrollment are numerous, ranging from reduced costs and increased efficiency to improved data management.
So, let’s take a closer look at six reasons why your school should introduce (or further improve) a digital online enrollment system.
- Cutting the Costs of Paper
- Effortless Student Enrollment
- Easy Tuition Fee Collection
- No More Lost Documents
- High Document Security
- Accurate Report Generation
Cutting the Costs of Paper
The first and most apparent advantage of introducing a paperless enrollment system is that it can generate significant savings on paper and paper-related costs, such as printing, photocopying, storing, handling, and processing various paper files, forms, and documents.
When we consider the vast amount of paper typically involved in the student enrollment process, those costs can quickly add up.
Conversely, going paperless can greatly reduce these expenses and generate labor and time savings.
For instance, paper-based enrollment usually involves parents/students receiving a packet of enrollment forms by post.
Source: Salt River Schools
Therefore, this process includes paper, printing, and postage costs.
On the other hand, paperless enrollment typically involves the parents or students receiving an email or text message with a link to an online enrollment portal, thus eliminating all these expenses.
Furthermore, even when the enrollment packet is made available to parents online to be printed, filled out, and sent back by post, those forms still need to be manually copied and entered into the database, while the originals need to be filed and stored.
Conversely, when parents or students fill out forms online and attach scanned copies of their documents, the school’s enrollment management software automatically records the data, as well as files and stores all the forms and documents in a digital format.
These are just a few examples of how paperless student enrollment can help your school reduce paper, printing, copying, postage, and storage costs and minimize the time and effort required to manually handle and process paper forms.
Effortless Student Enrollment
A paperless system makes the entire enrollment process much easier, more convenient, and more efficient for school administrators, students, and their parents.
For schools, enrollment management software allows their admissions department to easily track and quickly process even a large number of student applications.
On the other hand, it makes the enrollment process effortless for the students and parents, i.e., something they can do from the comfort of their home, from any other location, and any device with an internet connection, such as a laptop, tablet, or smartphone.
In other words, they can fill out and submit the school’s application forms online instead of using the postal service or visiting the school.
For example, the Napa Valley Unified School District wanted to integrate and manage student enrollment data in one place and provide parents and students with a more accessible and convenient way to apply to their schools and programs.
As outlined in their case study, they first identified their specific needs and found an online enrollment management software that could meet them.
The software enabled them to digitize their paper processes and move them online, which minimized the need for manual data entry and verification by school administrators and made the entire enrollment process easier, faster, and less error-prone.
As for parents, they were able to submit and manage their applications online from any Internet-capable device and any location, as well as receive real-time updates about their children’s enrollment status.
This provided parents with greater accessibility and convenience throughout the admissions process, making it effortless.
Overall, paperless student enrollment brings benefits on both sides of the aisle, making the entire process much easier for schools and much more convenient for students and their parents.
Easy Tuition Fee Collection
By switching from paper-based to digital, schools can easily collect tuition and other fees because enrollment management software allows them to automate the payment collection process and provide parents and students with convenient online payment methods.
Furthermore, such software enables schools to create payment plans where parents or students are automatically billed according to a payment schedule at the end of each billing cycle.
This means that the enrollment system can be set to send out online invoices on predetermined dates, which makes tuition fee collection more effective and minimizes the issue of late payments.
Moreover, it automatically processes online tuition payments, captures the required payment-related documentation, and organizes them in a searchable database.
For instance, Regpack is an online enrollment software that allows you to streamline the entire enrollment process and provides all the tuition payment features we described.
As you can see, Regpack embeds onto your school website, enables you to create customized registration forms, and securely process online payments automatically.
These features not only make tuition fee collection easier for school administrators but save time and make life easier for parents and students.
For example, they can access their own online portal where they can check their payment status and plan their budget.
Furthermore, families can opt for a payment plan with recurring billing, which enables them to pay at intervals that are most convenient for them.
In any case, parents and students can use Regpack to easily pay tuition fees using their preferred online payment method.
Overall, switching to paperless student enrollment with the help of online enrollment software provides a convenient and efficient solution for parents to pay and schools to collect tuition and other fees, thus making payment processes easier for everyone.
No More Lost Documents
One of the biggest problems with paper-based student enrollment is the risk of lost or misplaced documents, which can lead to delays in the admissions process and cause frustration for all involved—school administrators, students, and parents.
Since online enrollment management software stores all of the school’s admissions documents in their digital form in the cloud, this efficiently eliminates the risk of paper forms and documents being lost or misfiled.
More specifically, families can access the enrollment portal, fill out forms, upload the required documents like transcripts, birth certificates, vaccination records, and proof of residency, and submit them directly to the school online.
Such an online enrollment process ensures that all documents are safely stored and easily accessible and allows school administrators to quickly and easily review and process them.
For instance, the admissions staff at Latymer Upper School (UK) spent hours going through checklists to determine which forms and documents were received and which were missing back when the school was still relying on paper-based student enrollment.
Since paper documents are easily lost, misplaced, or misfiled, this often needlessly prolonged their admissions process and frustrated all involved.
After they introduced a paperless enrollment system, that tedious and error-prone task disappeared.
In the words of Kerry Wilson, the school’s admissions registrar:
Now, we can log into the system and immediately see which forms are outstanding and the ones we have received. We can then send automated reminders or messages to other team members or parents to prompt a rapid response.
Finally, as all documents are stored in the cloud, they are still safe and available online if something happens to their paper versions (e.g., fire, flood).
Overall, a paperless student enrollment system will ensure that no documents are lost, back up all the documents in the cloud, and allow school administrators to improve the overall quality, accuracy, and speed of the enrollment process.
High Document Security
Since schools are required to comply with different privacy protection regulations, they need to ensure that student admissions documents and sensitive information in them are not lost, stolen, or accessed by unauthorized persons.
Although paper documents filed in cabinets may seem relatively secure, it’s actually much more challenging to track who can access, copy, or take them, as we’ve recently seen in the case of highly confidential government documents.
The same is true for outside actors, where a determined person can break into the school and find what they’re looking for fairly easily.
Conversely, when student enrollment is paperless, your school can minimize the number of physical documents it needs to protect—or eliminate them altogether.
Then, it can use enrollment management software to set permissions for who can access digital documents and confidential information therein.
Using role-based permissions enabled by the software, you can limit the information different users, such as teachers, administrators, and parents can access, thus protecting sensitive student and school information.
Furthermore, you’ll be able to see who and when accessed the documents and what changes they made.
Of course, student data can also be subject to theft or unauthorized access when stored online in the cloud.
However, today’s security technology enables cloud providers to use advanced encryption and authentication methods to reduce the risk of cyberattacks and data breaches.
Given the above, a paperless student enrollment system enables your school to better protect admissions documents, both online and offline, resulting in high document security that helps protect sensitive student information.
Accurate Report Generation
In addition to minimizing data entry errors and improving the accuracy of student data, enrollment management software allows schools to generate accurate reports at the click of a button.
These reports can then be used to evaluate the school’s enrollment process and make informed decisions regarding how that process can be improved.
One of the key benefits of paperless student enrollment is that it automates data collection and processing, ensuring that any reports created using that data are accurate and up-to-date.
Depending on the software of their choice, schools can generate various predefined and customized reports that best fit their specific needs.
For example, Regpack allows school administrators to use different search filters to gather the data they want to include in their reports.
As you can see, administrators can filter students using pre-set criteria such as “waitlisted” or create another set of conditions and combine them into a customized filter.
Using dynamic data filtering, administrators can generate various reports with ease.
In other words, the data accuracy and filtering features of online enrollment software enable schools to create reports tailored to their needs.
Therefore, the ability to generate accurate reports is a major advantage of using paperless student enrollment, which allows schools to get a complete and up-to-date picture of their admissions process.
Armed with insights from reports, schools can make informed decisions on how to improve their overall student enrollment.
So, if your school is experiencing the adverse effects of using paper-based student enrollment processes and wants to replace them with digitized, automated, and streamlined online processes, a paperless enrollment management system is the way to go.
To summarize, online enrollment management software solutions enable your school to cut down paper and printing costs, provide parents and students with an effortless enrollment process, easily collect tuition fees, improve document management and security, and generate accurate reports.
All these cost savings and efficiency gains give you more than enough reasons why your school should use paperless student enrollment.