It’s the start of a new term in the midst of a pandemic so it’s a busy, busy time for student support teams! Based on student feedback, we’ve put together three tips to try and help relieve the pressure on your support funds, and also have some exciting news about our Funding Tool.
The funding support challenges faced by universities
Universities are reporting increased pressure on their hardship funds. This hasn’t been helped by the ‘10pm curfew’, meaning the loss of many part-time student jobs in the hospitality industry.
On top of this, there’s the added strain of students self-isolating or being ‘locked down’ in their accommodation, plus the ongoing question mark of what tomorrow will bring!
As a result, universities are facing increased demand for student funding, while also in many cases, having to quickly shift the application process online.
Our online funds management system can help make your funding application process as student-friendly as possible. Read to the end for some exciting news about our Funding Tool, but in the meantime…
3 tips for a student-friendly funding application process
1. Make your funds easily discoverable
Make the funds you have available really clear so students know what their options are. This all comes down to communication, which was a recurring theme in our most recent Insights & Trends Report.
Students told us plainly that they want transparency, clarity and communication from their university, and this has only become more important since the pandemic.
Start simple: Do your students know where to go to see the funds available to them? The ideal is to have one central ‘Funds Hub’ that’s accessible to all. Get in touch to learn about the Funds Hub in our Funding Tool, and how we can include links to info on your support funds whether or not your university is a Blackbullion partner.
2. Ensure support staff understand the requirements
It’s key that every staff member has a solid understanding of the requirements students must meet to qualify for funds.
This will help make the funding application process as smooth as possible and also minimise delays caused by back and forth between students and staff.
Bring clarity: Do all student support team members know about every fund you have available, and could they walk students through how to apply for each one?
3. Reduce student anxiety
Most of the actions you can take to minimise the stress students feel about applying for funding centre around communication. For instance, it’s important that students know there’s support available to them and how to ask for help.
Set clear expectations: Keep students in the loop about their application. Best case scenario is a central point online where students can go to check the status of their application.
More about our Funding Tool and online application forms
Universities are using our Funding Tool to simplify the application process and provide remote funding support. Meanwhile, we’ve been focused on how we can provide even greater support to our community. The result? We’ve launched online application forms for our Funding Tool.
What is the Funding Tool?
The Blackbullion Funding Tool is an online funds management system. The tool streamlines the funding application process and enables student support teams to manage all cases remotely, while also ensuring students have access to the financial support and learning they need.
Using the Funding Tool, you can digitise your process and improve access to funding for all students by:
- Simplifying the process
- Providing remote support
- Saving time
- Reducing student anxiety
- Measuring impact and efficacy
When the pandemic happened, we had to transition to that remote, work from home environment pretty quickly. The next day I was doing student assessments from my mum’s kitchen table, like I was still in the office. The transition was seamless and there’s been no disruption to the student experience.
What’s all the fuss about online application forms?
Our Funding Tool previously used existing university application forms, most often a PDF. Our latest feature is a fully online form that’s customisable to your institution.
The next step in streamlining funding for those in need, our new online application forms:
- Guide students through the process with a fully digital experience
- Use dynamic data fields that support students to submit all relevant information and evidence first time
- Reduce the need for back and forth communication that delays the process
Read about how the Funding Tool has streamlined funding applications at the University of Suffolk and made the process much more straightforward for both students and staff. Want to find out more about online application forms and our Funding Tool? Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.