In the fall of 2016, things at University of California-Santa Barbara (UCSB) were not as serene as its picturesque coastal hills and cool stucco facades implied. The school had a good/bad problem: “We saw an unprecedented enrollment surge—way more students than ever before were coming to campus,” says Mike Miller, Interim Assistant Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Services. To complicate the situation, he added, the overall UC student population is “needier and needier each year, in terms of requiring financial aid to meet the rising cost of school.”
The campus reached a tipping point last fall when its outdated paper-based financial aid processes resulted in a crashed phone system and long lines of students that wrapped around the building. “That didn’t sit well with me,” Miller recalls. “Students pay a lot of money to be here. They shouldn’t miss class because they’re standing in line at Financial Aid.”
Miller knew it was crunch time—and so did the rest of UCSB leadership.
The Solution for UCSB: CampusLogic
“We needed to do something—fast,” he says. “The more I looked at CampusLogic, the more I thought it was ideal for us.” Miller recognized that StudentFormsSM, with its mobile document-upload capabilities, e-signature, and text-message reminders could effectively replace the school’s traditional paper forms, long lag times for sending and receiving sensitive documents through the mail, and daily calls from concerned parents.
“We also needed to meet the overall expectations of our students,” he adds. “They don’t want paper anymore; they want to upload things. We needed to meet them there—rather than force them to back to paper.”
When CampusLogic released a Cal ISIR processwithin StudentForms to meet the needs of undocumented students who could take advantage of the California Dream Act, “that’s when the lightbulb went off for me,” Miller says. “I knew that if we could get campus buy-in, StudentForms would do great things for us, our students, and our campus.”
Common Goal to Serve UCSB Students Helps Build Momentum, Ease IT Concerns
With many still feeling the sting of last fall’s chaos, lightbulbs went off throughout the UCSB administration offices, too. It took no time at all for Miller to convince Chief Information Officer Matt Hall that StudentForms was their salvation. And with that kind of support, Miller says, it took mere minutes for the rest of campus leadership to approve the CampusLogic proposal.
There was just one more hurdle to overcome: UCSB was midway through implementing a new ProSAM Student Information System (SIS). Miller admits that the IT team was apprehensive about simultaneous implementations and SIS integration with StudentForms. But those concerns soon disappeared as things got underway.
“This is a perfect example of what happens when we work together to achieve a common goal—which is to better serve UCSB’s amazing students,” Miller says.
Best Practices for a Speedy Rollout
Sure, there was some initial eye-rolling and a lot of ‘we’ll believe it when we see it’ comments when CampusLogic reps told him how quickly StudentForms could launch, Miller recounts. But he was so sold on the product that he told colleagues to simply “trust the process; trust the vendor.”
With total buy-in around campus, everyone focused on getting StudentForms live for the fall ’17 intake. “We had a project manager, a financial aid lead, and a technical lead,” Miller explains. “Once we had the frontend set up, the team from CampusLogic walked us through the rest of the process. They really did all the heavy lifting.”
As implementation proceeded, he says, the financial aid staff was already trying things out in the offline ‘sandbox’ to be fully prepared for launch—and it all worked without a hitch. “This rollout was about as uneventful as it could be—which is fabulous,” Miller says.
From Lightbulb Moment to Lightyears Ahead
“This was the fastest implementation in our school’s history,” Miller declares. With StudentForms, he adds, “we stepped forward 15 years almost overnight. From paper to cloud, wet signature to e-signature, and text messaging—I’m blown away by this amazing journey. I really think this will be one of the best IT investments we will ever make.”