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A Secure Total Student Experience: Reframing Students as Modern Consumers of Higher Education  

Today’s students represent the most connected, digital-savvy demographic in the world, everywhere but campus. 

The administrative culture of higher education is known for its rigid procedural adherence. To excel in their academic pursuits, students must navigate disjointed, often unforgiving administrative processes from application to graduation. Now, isolated attempts at digitization are complicating these processes further.

Compared to the experiences they engage with in other industries, their student experience stands out as lacking in customer focus. To foster lasting engagement among current students, universities need to think of their students as customers. 

A New Generation of Students

This year, the average cost of college in the United States is at $38,270 per student per year, including books, supplies, and daily living expenses – totaling $153,000 over the course of four years. 

Digital-age students are service-focused consumers with high standards for customer experience. Whereas past generations have been willing (with varying degrees of reluctancy) to jump through administrative hoops in the name of character-building, This generation will not.  

One study by WP Engine concluded that college students, “…form their opinion about the quality of their education and the quality of the institution…based on [its] digital systems.” As academics continue to seek out streamlined experiences that emulate their experiences in private sectors, institutions of higher education can expect digital experience to continue to be a key decision factor for prospective students in the next four years. 

Modernization Gone Wrong

In 2023, A multi-vocal review of existing data on technology integration in colleges concluded that, “[colleges] are in the first steps to digital maturity…only 1 in 4 have a digital strategy and 56% have launched isolated DTI that are not integrated in a plan and do not have a high strategic return value to the organization.” It’s clear that universities are beginning to learn the hard way that isolated modernization initiatives generally have the opposite intended effect.  

By implementing technology in some places and not in others, decision makers have often made essential processes more complex, fragmented, and unintuitive than before; processes like: 

  • Registering for classes 
  • Transferring credits 
  • Engaging with financial aid/student financial services 
  • Requesting special services 
  • Purchasing parking passes 
  • Accessing campus facilities 
  • Purchasing textbooks 
  • Applying for graduation 
  • Communicating with faculty and staff 
  • Utilizing printing services and library services 
  • Obtaining/submitting official transcripts 

 

Software AG describes this outcome as “operational chaos” and points out that approximately 76% of organizations that have substantially grown their tech stack will have experienced it. 

A Secure Total Student Experience

Technology solutions are designed to work together in conjunction as part of a robust modernization strategy that considers every aspect of the student experience. But how can universities ensure they do?

BeyondID’s digital identity blueprint is designed to guide educational institutions through a holistic digital transformation from start to finish. With a digital identity blueprint, students are at the center of a university experience that takes them online, into the classroom, and everywhere in between.  

The end goal of blueprint-led initiatives is always a secure total student experience – one that makes active engagement easier, not harder. Within that secure total experience, every essential process listed above, and so many more, are seamlessly accessible from a single point of entry as intuitive digital resources. 

Student engagement plays a direct role in shaping learning outcomes, student retention rates, and building active alumni communities. US colleges received $13.4B in alumni donations in 2022, proving once again that building engaged alumni bodies is integral to a diverse fundraising strategy.

By investing in a student experience that simplifies essential processes and drives engagement outcomes, universities will build a community of students, parents, and alumni that champion their institution for years to come.  

Contact us today to learn more about launching your digital transformation journey with a personalized digital idenitity blueprint.

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Erin Moore

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