COVID, and the associated lockdowns, accelerated a trend that was already in motion. That is, the desire to conduct our finances in the same way we conduct everything else – online and in our own time.
From tapping your card to buy a coffee, to transferring your share of the dinner to the bill payer, to catching an Uber with the fee taken automatically from your payment card, we are all increasingly more comfortable with the convenience and speed of the fintech developments in our life.
Gen X, the straddle generation of technology, has become heavily reliant on tech – let alone the Ys and Zs that have known no other world! These days, the notion of filling in paper forms and waiting weeks for it to be processed are quickly becoming things of the past for many industries.
So, what can fintech offer the higher education sector?
Education might not seem like an obvious sector for the fintech (financial technology) revolution, but it is. Many elements of fintech are relevant within colleges, universities and schools. For example:
- Accepting and sending payments
- Foreign exchange management
Benefits for staff and students
The education sector has been slow to adopt fintech to date, due to the size of universities and complications caused by administrative burdens. Yet, it’s hard to argue that a major update wouldn’t be welcomed and have significant benefits for both staff and students.
For some time now, students have been ready for fintech to play a part in their university experience from before they even arrive on campus.
We’ve also seen over the last year how students have turned to new, digital-first (and often higher risk) ways to try to make money.
Old red flags like payday lending and loan sharks are out, while cryptocurrency and trading and investing are in. In fact, 25% of students already own some cryptocurrency and a further 1 in 3 intend to buy soon.
By adopting fintech more widely, universities could revamp many of the old and clunky legacy systems and processes within universities to deliver a faster, better student experience.
It will also help institutions to meet student expectations for financial support. Students expect technology to be integrated into all areas of their life – meeting this expectation will aid institutions’ recruitment strategies and provide a competitive advantage. More on students’ thoughts on financial support from universities and colleges here.
But it’s not only students who could benefit. Fintech also offers an exciting opportunity for institutions to take big leaps in terms of:
- Cost saving
- Time saving
- Added capacity
- Reducing administrative burdens
Technology will never replace the quality human interactions we all need, but technology, and financial technology in particular, can bring capacity, reach, measurement and impact metrics at a time when everyone is required to do more with less.
It can’t be said enough that fintech isn’t a replacement for humans. Instead, it’s a powerful tool that enables staff to automate and digitise manual tasks and processes.
As a result, educators and professional staff are free to focus on the more impactful aspects of their role that only a human can do, like supporting students and addressing individuals’ issues.
Want to find out more about fintech? Learn the basics.
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