As a nine-year-old Cub Scout, I couldn’t wait to get a pocketknife. I loved the idea of having a handy tool that I could keep in my pocket to create something from a block of wood—at a moment’s notice. I was happy with my little knife. And then one day my den leader showed us a Swiss Army knife, and my world changed. The multitude of functions, all the things this new knife could do…it threw my young imagination into overdrive. It was a knife that could do so much more! I had to have one.
Today, as we launch CampusLogic’s groundbreaking AwardLetter product under the name of CampusCommunicator, I can’t stop feeling that same excitement of knowing “It can do so much more now!” And in turn, YOU can do so much more.
CampusCommunicator Solves Many Problems
AwardLetter was originally built to solve a very specific problem that blocks Student Financial Success—confusing and complex financial aid offers (aka award letters). In 2014 when it launched, AwardLetter provided an immersive digital experience that empowered students and parents to make better decisions about higher education funding options. Since the inception of the product, over 4 million digital award letters have simplified and clarified financial aid offers for students through greater personalization, dynamic media content, and mobile access.
A funny thing happened on the way to personalized award notifications. Our customers started identifying other complex and multi-step processes that they needed to better communicate to students. Ideas for additional templates in the product started popping up all over the place. Customers wanted to use our product to send:
- Initial Welcome to FA Applicants: Share an overview of their institution’s financial aid process, personalized to the applicant, generated automatically based on the ISIR receipt.
- Anticipated/Unofficial Award Notices: Provide preliminary estimates, planning tools, and next steps.
- CFPB Shopping Sheets: Deliver a mobile version of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau shopping sheet to communicate cost and value to students.
- Multi-Year Financial Plans: Use the online format to map out a plan for each student’s entire career at the institution in terms of financial aid.
- Debt/Loan Letters: Many states have initiated programs to send students periodic letters explaining Pell and Subsidized Loan Eligibility to date, total debt to date, and a breakdown of anticipated monthly repayment amounts. This can be combined with the student’s academic progress to date to encourage persistence and lower borrowing.
CampusCommunicator: Not Just for the Financial Aid Office
When other departments saw what financial aid offices were able to accomplish with the product, they wanted in. Our Swiss Army knife started simplifying billing statements, scholarship notifications, admission offers, housing arrangements, communications for missing information…the flood gates were wide open at this point.
New Name, Same Focus: Solve Student Confusion
The product continued to grow and expand, and suddenly the brand name no longer seemed to do it justice. Because it does so much more than that first early version—it does so much more than award letters. We’ve had a lot of internal debate, and I must admit I resisted the change the loudest. But I only resisted it because I am so passionate that student financial success starts with a clear understanding of the funding options outlined in the typical financial aid award notification; I didn’t want to lose focus on solving that problem. CampusCommunicator works as a name, because student financial success takes a village—it’s an effort that requires communication across the departments of your campus, and across the entire student finance journey. Driving student financial success takes innovation and imagination, and CampusCommunicator has that in spades.
CampusCommunicator: Innovator from the Front Lines
Some might find it surprising that so much imagination and innovation came from the financial aid office, with all of its rules, regulations and compliance checklists. But financial aid professionals have an ingenuity streak driven by the desire to change the lives of the students they support. They’re an amazingly intuitive, caring group of people who have a tough job. I am grateful to all of those FA professionals who helped us see the possibilities, and I am excited to see how CampusCommunicator continues to grow under their suggestions.
About the AuthorMore Content by Chris Chumley