From Fixing Broken Seats to Solving Financial Literacy—Video is the Answer

Chris Chumley, COO

If you had taken a ride with me over the last 15 years, you would have ridden in my pride and joy—a 1997 LX 450 sport utility. The LX 450 is a rebadged Toyota ® Land Cruiser that is an absolute tank of a machine. I covered a quarter of a million miles through rain, snow, and mud while living in Illinois, Colorado, and Arizona. I’ve decided to pass it on to my son because he’s getting his driver’s license this year—and it’s a tank, it’ll run for many more years.

Problems Not Covered by the User’s Manual  

This weekend, I had a problem with my old friend the LX 450—maybe it senses that I’m passing it on. The gears on the motor that move the seat forward and backward appear to have finally worn out. The driver seat got stuck too far forward and wouldn’t budge. In all truthfulness, I am in no way a mechanic. I’m not very handy with a wrench. I don’t normally try to work on cars myself. But I kept thinking, “this shouldn’t be that hard. If I could just watch someone do this, talk through this, I bet I can fix it.” So, I did what millions of students do every day: I searched YouTube.

Sure enough, I found that someone else had run into my problem, and knew how to fix it. I found a short how-to video demonstrating how to take off the LX 450’s seat cover to access a bolt underneath. A few turns with a with a ratchet on that bolt and I was able to manually move the seat back to where I wanted it.

Videos Make the Complex Simple

I obviously wasn’t the only one who had encountered the problem: that video has been viewed more than 18,000 times since it was uploaded in 2016. The answer wasn’t in the owner’s manual and I never would have come up with the solution on my own. Being able to watch someone else fix it—step-by-step, replay-able as-needed—was awesome. People like to problem-solve, myself included. Add in the internet, tons of user-generated content on everything from how to run a 10K to how to roast a Thanksgiving turkey, and you’ve got an ever-growing crowd-sourced knowledge base. In YouTube’s case, that knowledge base grows at a rate of 400 hours of video uploaded every minute. Searches of how-to videos on YouTube are growing 70% year-on-year. Videos are how people consume information today, and that’s not going to change anytime soon.

Financial Aid: A Complex World

While my LX 450 is a few years older than the incoming freshmen class, we still find common ground on at least one thing: videos drive engagement and understanding. And we need more videos about financial aid, a complex topic for many. Think about when a student or parent is trying to comprehend their financing options for obtaining an education. They often likely feel as lost and confused as I did when I was trying to figure out how to fix my seat.

According to a Young Invincibles and NERA Economic Consulting survey, more than 65% of high-debt student borrowers are confused by some aspect of their loan. This lack of clarity leaves many students making one of the biggest purchases of their life without fully understanding their financial commitment. There’s huge potential to eliminate confusion and provide these parents and students with an alternative way to navigate financial aid questions, gain financial literacy, and feel empowered that they are making the right choice for themselves: explanatory video content.

Why Video Killed the Radio Star

If a picture is worth a thousand words, the ability to click play on a short video that has the answer to your immediate question instantly is worth 10,000. Many institutions have financial literacy content on web pages and other assets, but that video content isn’t delivered as part of the overall student financial services journey—students have to seek it out in one-off situations, if they look for it at all. Most content isn’t used or doesn’t have the impact that it should. The resulting confusion leads to more phone calls to the office, more visits to the office, and ultimately, more students deciding the financial aid process is just too confusing to figure out. And if they do continue, without the right information to make good financial decisions, they may end up with higher student loan debt than they realized.

Video Advising Drives Engagement and Understanding

When we launched AwardLetter in 2015, the goal was to simplify and personalize the award notification process. A key feature of the product has always been the ability to embed multi-media to communicate complex ideas. Embedded video combined with a personalized, digital award letter is powerful because:

  • Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video, compared to just 10% when reading it in text.
  • The majority of consumers (59%) agree that if both text and video are available on the same topic, they’re more likely to choose video.
  • Video can be replayed from a mobile device to revisit questions quickly and easily

And best of all, video content drives engagement with students, helping to boost enrollment and retention.

New! CampusLogic-Produced Video Content

CampusLogic just announced the preview release of our new built-in video library. This library for AwardLetter embeds informative videos into each student’s award letter to improve engagement and understanding. Videos answer questions like ‘what is cost of attendance,’ ‘what is the difference between direct and indirect cost,’ ‘what is a grant versus a loan,’ and more. By producing our own explanatory video content, we allow institutions to quickly move to using video as a self-advising option without heavy upfront development costs. Key features include:

  • Library of financial literacy videos to engage and inform students within their award letter
  • Diverse video content that can be tailored based on student type or program
  • Video usage metrics institutions can use to optimize performance

The content is geared toward making the complex simple and reaching your students where they are, when they want the information. More than ever, video content reaches students and parents in a medium that they already use to learn how to fix broken seats, make other household repairs and learn new skills. Financial aid video content just makes sense.

Read Why We Named It AwardLetter >

About the Author

Chris Chumley, COO

CampusLogic's Chief Operating Officer - Specializing in product management, project management, and business process design throughout his 20-year career, Chris is an expert in managing change. It’s a leadership characteristic that serves him well at CampusLogic where his team is transforming traditional Financial Aid processes.

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