A North East based college, specialising in apprenticeships and path-to-work courses. The college prides itself in aiding students in getting back to learning, particularly with individuals who may have issues with student budgeting. It provides a number of grants, bursaries and loans itself, and also works with a variety of other organisations to aid student funding.
The college found that it was spending a large amount of time on the admin associated with grants, bursaries and loans. Some of the other organisations that helped fund these financial benefits for students require the money to only be spent on items truly associated with learning such as stationery, books & private tutoring, thereby restricting the spend. The college had to ensure all students understand the grants, sign to agree to any conditions, and provide their bank details to process each grant one-by-one termly. This was taking up a lot of time of the finance and back office team but the college was keen to use this time better on sourcing further income for the college and its students. The college was in search of an easier provision of grant payments.
The college was also experiencing a significant number of drop outs due to student’s poor budgeting throughout the term. As they are given their funds on a termly basis due to admin resource constraints, which often led to running out of funds before the term ends, causing an increased number drop outs.
The college has a large number of school leavers:
They also help several students get back to learning after a break in education:
To reduce admin, paperwork was sent to students via email, with an SMS notification to support advising them of the free online access available via college computers. Paperwork could be downloaded or electronically signed to agree to any T&Cs. Once received this paperwork was held against the student profile permanently. All students eligible for a grant, bursary or loan were issued with a prepaid bursary card. All monetary funds could be added as and when required.
The switch to prepaid cards has reduced the admin for the finance office by an estimated 93 hours per month, allowing the college to offer bursaries monthly rather than termly, aiding students in managing their budgets more efficiently and stay in college.
Student opinions have included:
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