Customer Stories

Del Mar College

Del Mar College believes in serving its students to the best of their ability, which means they must operate in the most efficient way possible to make life easier for the students. Outside of academics, students interact with the college administration most when applying for acceptance, paying tuition and securing financial aid. Each of these processes involved paper forms before Del Mar College began using Softdocs e-forms and workflow.

Quick Facts

  • Implemented in Accounts Receivable/Bursars Office, Admissions, Financial Aid and Registration
  • Softdocs customer since 2010

Challenges

  • Time-consuming, paper intensive Student Services processes
  • Students overwhelmed by physical forms
  • Delay in the Title IV reporting process

Solutions

The Softdocs ECM Platform™

  • Electronic cash receipts
  • Reduce the amount of physical forms
  • Provided cross departmental access

Improving access for students was the first goal of Del Mar’s strategic plan and they saw the opportunity Softdocs could provide in helping them reach that goal. 

Del Mar College’s mission is to provide access to quality education, workforce preparation and lifelong learning for student and community success. The key to that statement is access and according to the college’s Chief Information and Technology Officer, August Alfonso, that means operating in the most efficient way possible to serve its students. “If you look at our existing strategic plan, goal one deals with access. So we focused on Student Services, but this includes Accounts Receivable and the Bursar’s office. My main focus was to make it easier for students.”

Accounts Receivable

Accounts Receivable was the first department to implement the Softdocs Content Management Platform. “I still have the first receipt printed in Accounts Receivable. Softdocs exponentially enhanced the way we receive payment from students,” said Alfonso. “It took away all of the existing paper processes.” The receipt Softdocs designed holds much more detail than what Del Mar had been using previously. It contains information about where the payment is received, who the person paying is and the station number of the cashier that accepted the payment. “It tells you all of that in one little printout. So the audit trail is very comprehensive.” Proof of payment and a full report of information was also made available for viewing across Del Mar’s multiple campuses and departments.

“Because of the way Softdocs does their imaging, that receipt is available at any cashiering station. Before this automation, if a student went to a testing area and then the Registrar or Business office to pay for testing but forgot to bring their receipt, they were sent back to get the original receipt,” said Alfonso.

“The Bursar’s office is where Softdocs really made an initial impact. Not just for making it efficient, but also for all of the billing and accountability.”

Admissions

Del Mar’s admission process starts with either the submission of an application or transcripts to the college. Both electronic and paper applications are accepted. Electronic applications are completed by the student on the ApplyTexas website, a centralized means of applying to colleges state-wide, and then imported into the college’s ERP, Ellucian’s Colleague. But not all of the required information would import successfully, and personnel had to enter the remaining fields manually. 

“Softdocs really helped us make things efficient with our intake process.”

Greater inefficiencies occurred when the imported applications were printed out on paper for the staff to determine a student’s residency classification. Those applications were kept in stacks in the Admissions office until processing was finalized. This created a blind spot in knowing the status of a particular student at any time between the initial import and filing the applications after completion. If a student inquired about the status of their application, an employee had to spend time searching for their printed application. If they couldn’t find the document, students had to complete Del Mar’s paper version of the application. The printing of each online application created a backlog and slowed down the admissions process.

To eliminate these time-consuming, paper-intensive procedures, Softdocs designed a workflow to automatically file a student’s application by their Colleague identification number and change the status from ‘new’ to ‘evaluated’ whenever the residency is verified. Any applications with an uncertain residency status are changed to ‘escalated,’ allowing personnel to find the document quickly using the content management solution’s advanced search functionality.

Financial Aid

Alfonso found the discovery Softdocs did for the Financial Aid department a real eye opener to how much room for improvement there was within the college’s existing business processes. After spending a day with every member of the department, he realized the staff was inadvertently creating bottlenecks. Without access to key information from Admissions and the Registrar’s office, Financial Aid was having students complete additional forms in order to get everything they needed.

“We realized it would take, if I recall correctly, 8 to 16 campus visits by a student in order for them to complete a financial aid application. 70-77 percent of our students get some type of financial aid funding. Our volume is extremely high and we have very limited staff to handle it.”

Del Mar distributed more than $31 million in financial aid to more than 10,800 eligible students last year alone. By using Softdocs’ E-forms solution, Del Mar was able to combine multiple forms into one comprehensive form incorporating drop-down lists and checkboxes. This eliminated the need to request the same information from students as all the details are stored in the content management solution, which allows staff across departments special viewing privileges to access the data needed. In turn, forms are submitted earlier and processed more quickly, therefore, providing student’s their funding on time.

Title IV Funding

Another important area to Financial Aid is something Del Mar calls a 12-day class rule, which is a census taken from the class roster the day after the drop/add period ends. This day is known as the census date and is important in determining whether or not a student will be charged the full amount of the course. It also serves as the count for the college’s full-time equivalency, which impacts the amount of state and federal funding the school receives. If a student drops a class before the census date, only a portion of the cost is charged based on the number of days attended. If they remain in the class after that date, they are charged in full. For students with Title IV funding, the number of courses they are enrolled in controls their amount of financial aid. Once a student falls below 12 credit hours, they are no longer considered a full-time student and their funding decreases.

Del Mar had a problem with professors turning their census rosters in on time. With multiple campuses and many classes taught by adjunct professors in the evenings, this information was coming in anywhere from three to six weeks late. Submitting this information so late dramatically affected the college’s state and federal funding, as well as the Financial Aid report to determine the refund a student should receive or the amount owed back to the college. To ease this process, Softdocs designed a customized e-form. Professors are now able to login to Softdocs’ E-forms solution and submit their roster in a matter of minutes rather than weeks. This data can then be accessed and distributed to the necessary state and federal offices immediately.

Future Expansion

Currently, Del Mar is looking to move to the next phase of their strategic plan. With the college located in the heart of Corpus Christi, it has seen a surge in the demand for continuing education and workforce development over the past year. This demand is being driven by the expansion of business within the Port of Corpus Christi. As one of the country’s busiest ports, many foreign companies have set up operations nearby. Del Mar is currently collaborating with nine different companies for workforce development. Alfonso says they will be revamping how they do things with their Continuing Education department. 

As the college grows and attracts more students already in the workforce, operating in the most efficient way possible creates an atmosphere of success empowering Del Mar’s students to thrive.

“Softdocs will play a major role when we look at all of the processes we have in our Continuing Education division because it is all paper-based.” 

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