Ellucian Integration Connects all the Dots

Southeastern Oklahoma State University is a known innovator in Oklahoma’s higher education circles. Its extensive online learning curriculum accounts for nearly 75% of its undergraduate and graduate enrollment. Their first experience with document management technology didn’t deliver the student service efficiencies they needed—mainly when it came to integration with the Ellucian Colleague student information system.

With the integration between the Softdocs platform and Colleague, it’s a very different story. “We try to do as much integration as possible to take the data entry out of student and staff hands,” said Jamie Wood, Administrative/Internet Systems Programmer. “It just makes the whole process easier on everyone and reduces the chance for errors.”

“With our previous document imaging system, our goal was to move to an online forms process. But it was never fully integrated the way Colleague and Etrieve are today,” said Tony Lehrling, Director of Financial Aid. “We still had PDFs that students had to print, complete, and physically bring in. Today, we don’t have many students come to the Financial Aid office anymore because they can complete everything online.” And it hasn’t only meant fewer students in the Financial Aid office, Etrieve also dramatically reduced the presence of paper—taking the office from nearly 30 filing cabinets down to just three.


Online Forms Give Students (and Staff) What They Want

“It was important that we not go into this Etrieve integration thinking, ‘This is the way we’ve always done it,’” said Lehrling. “Instead, you should think, ‘What can we do to make this job easier?’ Easier for me, easier for the student, easier for everybody.”

Collecting signatures was a slow process that required mailing paper documents back and forth to parents or spouses. With Etrieve, Financial Aid staff click a button, and it automatically sends the required party a link to the eForm for signature.

“They go online, sign and send it back to us. Now it can all be done in 10 or 15 minutes,” said Lehrling. “That also makes students happier because they are receiving their financial aid awards quicker.”

For the Registrar’s Office, it has meant a noticeable improvement in communication with students. “Previously, someone would send an email to the student if there was an update on their enrollment form,” said Rachel Toews, Registrar. “Now, we just plug in a comment on their form and the workflow automatically grabs and sends that notification to the student for us. We’re talking maybe a few minutes saved, but it adds up.”

“And students are right on beat with the new process. It just makes sense to them. It’s intuitive, and they’re like, ‘Yep, this is how it should be.’”


Stronger Security Keeps Student Information Safe

Data security and compliance continues to be a priority for institutions nationwide when it comes to protecting sensitive student information. With Etrieve single sign-on, the Southeastern Oklahoma State University Registrar maintains control over user access to information and provides a safer method than email for students to submit forms and personal documents.

Single sign-on access also gives student services staff confidence in the accuracy and validity of every process step. For instance, through the Etrieve and Colleague integration, instructors are given specific access to the appropriate student and course data in the system, which ensures grade change submissions, and the required signatures are accurate, verified and complete.

For Southeastern Oklahoma State University, the Softdocs Platform has helped Registrar and Financial Aid both reach a new level of document management and security, and laid the groundwork for even greater efficiencies campus wide.