We wrote in a previous post about Sponsored Account Management (SAM) and how it eases the burden for managing student funds at the campus store. Quite simply, it saves time and money for an automated system like SAM to manage these funds vs. store personnel handling it manually.
However, there is also an impact on students and the campus. Most sponsored account funds are of the “use-it or lose-it” variety, meaning that if the student does not avail themselves of the award, the benefits are lost. SAM makes those funds easier to set up, administer, and access, reducing student frustration so that students use more of those funds. Since most of those funds are targeted toward the acquisition of course materials, that means there’s a pretty direct link between making it easier to use these funds and student success.
When students can access these funds with a simple swipe of their student ID, it makes it convenient and easy for them to use every eligible dollar. Watchman’s Inclusive Access billing service also checks for an available SAM balance prior to writing charges to the student account and it complements the Bursar Billing service easily. Using these dollars and getting course materials early has a direct impact on student retention and success.
With a system like SAM, Campus leaders are given the data they need to understand the state of these sponsored accounts and take early action if something is off. It’s no longer necessary to drill down spreadsheets and calculate balances to know where students are, and are not, using their eligible funds.
To visualize this story, let’s check our reporting dashboard for an imaginary school. The SAM dashboard reports help store management visualize the use of those funds, making it easier to notice potential problems before it’s too late to take corrective action.
This chart shows the state of funds available, say a few days into the new semester..
Some fund types are nearly spent but others have considerable balances. Some benefits aren’t being received, especially by VA and Voc Rehab students. Drilling down into the data might supply the Institution with information to do outreach to a core set of students.
This example chart above shows the spending pattern in total and would give some assurance that students are using their funds in a timely manner.
These early indicators can also signal when something else might be wrong, like a system issue. Further, it’s easy to compare semester to semester or year over year trends. Manual workarounds might solve part of the problem, but truly managing these funds for usage and accuracy requires a solution with reporting visibility and audit capabilities. Watchman also helps generate appropriate invoicing after rush, helping the store through the process of getting paid by sponsors.
SAM solves a big hassle on campuses and is a key component of the WPS STEP platform, making other services like Bursar Billing and Inclusive Access billing immediately available to customers. SAM puts you in a position to know with certainty how students are accessing the funds earmarked for them, and positioning themselves for success. For more information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.