The Indiana Commission for Higher Education (CHE) serves the state’s system of post-high school education institutions in a wide range of capacities. One of CHE’s crucial responsibilities is distributing financial aid from state aid programs—an effort that ranks Indiana fifth in the nation for need-based grant aid per undergraduate full-time equivalent enrollment.
For years, CHE used a combination of in-house resources and staff augmentation to maintain their decade-plus-old financial aid management system. CHE was eager for a solution that would allow its team to get away from manually maintaining databases and debugging its software, and instead focus on evolving and innovating the student aid experience for both students and colleges.
The Counterpart team conducted an organization-wide discovery phase to fully understand the scope of CHE’s challenges, which included a workflow powered by more than a dozen tools and databases pushing and pulling everything from student FAFSA data to 21st Century Scholar information to earned college credits! As we dove into software requirements and architecting, it became clear that CHE needed a comprehensive solution that would simplify and automate its intricate and massive web of data management, and remove barriers for higher education institutions to self-manage their own data, files and awards.
In February 2017, we deployed ScholarTrack to CHE’s community of students, parents and caregivers, and schools. ScholarTrack is a one-stop-shop for students’ state financial aid needs, including the 21st Century Scholarship and other need- and merit-based aid. The platform guides users through the entire process of applying for and maintaining state financial aid. On the back end, ScholarTrack enables the CHE team to manage and report on an endless amount of student, school, and financial aid data in a seamless and automated workflow.
No other tool in the country provides financial aid management and automation like ScholarTrack. Implementing ScholarTrack has fundamentally changed the way the CHE team works. ScholarTrack has shifted their workflows from being IT-driven—ingesting and managing massive databases—to being user-driven, allowing schools to manage files whenever they want, with awards always calculating in the background. Consequently, this self-service model allows schools to be in more control of when things happen on a timeframe that aligns with their own processes, instead of CHE’s.
Now more than ever, CHE can operate strategically and proactively around bettering the financial aid experience for both students and colleges, including working with Counterpart on continuous ScholarTrack enhancements.
In 2018, ScholarTrack was recognized by Centric as an Indiana Innovation Award winner. In 2019, the platform was nominated for a TechPoint Mira Award.