Orange County Community College (SUNY Orange) is dedicated to helping the county’s 350,000 residents thrive through credit and non-credit programming, and cultural events. As a pioneer and innovator, it is meeting the needs of the community with advising, counseling and career guidance that offers opportunities for exploration and leadership that enhance the academic experience.
Increase in student volume required more efficient verification process
When Financial Aid Director Ray Torres joined SUNY Orange, he experienced what many colleges have faced – a retiring staff and unfilled positions that left more work for fewer people. The team was becoming overworked with the verification process and trying to keep up with the regulations of documentation that needed to be collected. Being rushed can lead to mistakes that end up taking longer to resolve and it was becoming harder to deliver the student service they needed.
“We are a Hispanic-serving institution, and many of these students are low-income and high-need. We weren’t able to give them the individual attention they needed and that had to change,” said Torres.
Reduced workload increases disbursement
Torres has a history of working in financial aid, particularly with a deep knowledge of verification, and SUNY Orange is his first as director: “I had experience with Verification Gateway and knew it would improve our situation.”
Verification Gateway (VG) from Inceptia is an automated online platform that streamlines federal verification processing for students and schools. Offering interview-style questions, simple and secure document collection, complete reporting and personal interaction when needed.
The reduced workload by having Inceptia manage verification was a relief to the team. Verification email traffic dropped by at least 50%, phone calls were only occasional and turnaround time was drastically reduced.
“What we could accomplish in a week was now accomplished in a day and that means we could get packages out sooner, student funds were available sooner and enrollment could stay on track. Since things happened quickly, students weren’t worried and could concentrate on school and we were relieved we weren’t missing anything,” Torres said.
Better student service
The VG user-interface is designed with students and parents in mind by breaking down the process into an easy-to-manage task list. If additional communication is needed, the VG team is there help.
“The portal just makes sense to students. One of the things I like the most is the personal nature Inceptia takes with our students. Their communication is clean, concise, and delivered with the care we take ourselves,” explained Torres.
Transparency offers peace of mind & training opportunity
VG has a transparent interface and in-depth reporting. Schools can drill down to each student and see the entire process, including notes from the Inceptia team.
“I could see for myself what was being done and why. The Inceptia team is fully trained, up-to-date on regulations and responds to changes before anyone realizes one has to be made,” said Torres. “Not only does it give me peace of mind that my students are in good hands, and getting the personal service they need, the transparency offers an opportunity to train my team on the impact of verification.”
Increasing team satisfaction
With less time on the phone and managing paperwork, the SUNY Orange Financial Aid team has more time to focus on students.
“You have to have a passion for helping students and parents understand how school finances work. It’s not about pushing paper, it’s about understanding each student’s need. Knowing verification is done quickly, accurately and under control, let’s us concentrate on everything else,” said Torres.