Friday, April 3, 2009

A Season for Growth

April 3, 2009- Here in Boston, we're still waiting for the spring bloom. Trees are bare, salt still lines the curb, and the temperature still hovers around 45... on a warm day. But that never breaks our spirit... Of course adding direct flights from Logan to the sunshine state doesn't hurt. Fortunately, we northerners can focus our energies on a different kind of spring growth, like the successful expansion of the ConnectEDU network in Michigan this season.

Michigan is being spotlighted (University Business- Contract News) as a model for success in our national network as a result of quick statewide adoption. In 2006, we partnered with several universities in Michigan to accomplish the unimaginable. We began building the first data bridge between high schools and colleges. Of course, we knew it wouldn't happen overnight, but immediately with the sponsorship of University of Michigan and Michigan State University, ConnectEDU integrated 15 high schools to ignite a new network. The first e-transcript delivery, announced in December 06, demonstrated the first movement of electronic transcript data points between the student information system of a high school and the SIS of a college. This began the final steps in eliminating paper processing in admissions.

Shortly after partnering with these initial high schools, as one of their trusted technology solutions, we began listening more intently. Listening to what counselors were telling us they needed to do their jobs more effectively. Listening to how they wanted technology, beyond e-transcripts, to enhance their ability to counsel their students.

We got to work incorporating their requests into our platforms. Our counselors quickly learned that ConnectEDU is about more than simply electronic transcripts. With their guidance, we now provide solutions, which students, parents and counselors rely on for all their college and career planning activity.

As of the start of this month, we have partnered with 245 high schools and 14 of the 15 public universities in Michigan. This means a streamlined admission process for 40% of Michigan’s college bound seniors. This also means that 136,442 students are being exposed to a new college planning process empowering students and addressing their needs. This unprecedented access to information and resources is undeniably helping students focus in a way that has never been done before; using their language of choice...technology. But that is only half the story…

Our growth in Michigan has also resulted in a savings potential of over two million dollars in the student records exchange process and elimination of over 51 million pieces of paper - that's the equivalent of over 4 acres of forest in Michigan being saved each admissions cycle. In addition, the network has expedited admissions decisions, created a longitudinal data tracking capability, provided for college access tracking/reporting and much more.

So unlike the daffodils and tulips that come and go this spring, we'll keep growing and expanding into more high schools and colleges. We'll continue to help counselors work with their students more efficiently. And we'll continue to make sure students are connecting with best-fitting colleges each admission season.

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