New Research Study Documents Operational Efficiencies and Other Benefits of Shift to e-Transcripts

Lauren Williams's picture
Monday, October 22, 2012

As postsecondary institutions seek to implement new practices that ensure high-quality education despite significant economic pressures, research and consulting firm Eduventures has released a white paper identifying electronic transcript (e-Transcript) exchange as a viable solution.

The independent study cites cost savings, operational efficiencies, improved learner outcomes, enhanced learner progression capabilities, improved data security and several more benefits associated with the electronic exchange of transcripts and other student records.

The white paper, "Electronic Transcript Exchange: Benefits and Experiences of Early Postsecondary Adopters," was developed with support from Postsecondary Electronic Standards Council (PESC) and Parchment Inc. The findings are based on conversations Eduventures staff held with leaders from university admissions offices and registrars from 12 diverse institutions. The findings underscore how two major functions of a college or university – the registrar and admissions functions – can experience both direct and indirect benefits through the implementation of e-Transcript solutions. Specifically, the report found:

  • Colleges have adopted e-Transcripts for one of three main reasons: 1) to improve student satisfaction; 2) to achieve operational process efficiencies; or 3) to realize cost savings.
  • Many leaders acknowledge that the full extent of savings is still unknown, but the areas where savings have been realized include overtime budgets, staffing, work-study and miscellaneous items including paper, postage and envelopes. To date in 2012, the University of Vermont (UVM) Registrar has experienced a 67 percent reduction in paper costs. UVM projects an additional 15 percent savings as the shift to e-Transcripts continues to grow over time. The Purdue University Registrar, which expects to handle 30,000 to 40,000 transcripts in its first year implementing an e-Transcript system, forecasts $50,000 in annual savings.
  • The majority of institutions have been able to redeploy staff to other higher-priority issues within their programs. In some cases, staff have become more focused on customer service tasks, project work and improving the efficiency of key processes. Institutions believe the adoption of this technology has improved student satisfaction and staff morale.
  • Institutions gained the ability to assist high school counselors in streamlining the application process, to allow admissions officers to review an applicant's full profile earlier in the process, and to improve the admissions experience for prospective students.
  • Institutions expressed interest in the tracking and analytical capabilities inherent in the e-Transcript platform to aid assessment of college choice patterns, recruiting efforts and student outcomes. 

"There are multiple reasons for schools to adopt electronic transcript exchange technology – the benefits extend throughout the educational value chain and far surpass simple cost savings," said Rusty Hartley, principal analyst at Eduventures. "In considering the case for adoption, schools should not only assess the immediate benefits, but also those less-obvious intangible benefits that quickly add-up and can have a positive impact on their institutions and their multiple stakeholders."

Eduventures conducted 12 in-depth interviews with institutional leaders representing nine public and three private higher education institutions. Of the 12 interviews, seven represented the registrar perspective while five held leadership roles in admissions and enrollment management programs. The institutions were diverse both in terms of geographic location, with total enrollments ranging from 4,000 to 70,000 in size. According to the report, "To date, institutions enjoy clear benefits and see emerging potential benefits further down the road as they become more experienced in utilizing this technology within their organization."

"This paper illustrates the value and benefits and therefore compels leaders to embrace electronic processing," said Michael Sessa, president and CEO of PESC. "With this transition from paper to digital, data standards simply make sense. Decision-makers looking to migrate to electronic processing need quantifiable data from a variety of sources though – including from their peers and stakeholders – on its value and benefits to their institutions."

To learn more about the study, visit http://bit.ly/etranscript-white-paper.

About Parchment

Parchment is the leader in electronic transcript (e-Transcript) exchange. More than 9,000 high schools (over 30 percent of the U.S. secondary school market) and postsecondary institutions have exchanged 6 million transcripts using the Docufideby Parchment™ and Avow by Parchment™ SaaS platforms. Beyond providing the cost and operational efficiencies of e-Transcripts, Parchment works with learners and institutions around the world to unlock the value of transcript and credential data – helping people collect, promote, and share their education credentials in simple and secure ways. Founded in 2003, Parchment Inc. is a venture-backed company headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz. with offices in Roseville, Calif., Washington, D.C., and Denver.

About Eduventures

Eduventures, Inc. is a research and consulting firm with deep expertise in higher education. Through our Learning Collaboratives and Consulting Division, we work with senior leaders at higher education institutions to drive enrollments, raise funds, optimize the academic portfolio, and operate more efficiently. For more information, visit www.eduventures.com.