Issuing specific qualifications is one of the most powerful and definitive features of higher education providers. 

The modern educational system requires all higher education institutions to be registered with the Quality and Standards Agency for Tertiary Education. Positioning Australia as the case study for this article, the nation has over 127 non-university higher education providers to date, which are a mix of for-profit and not-for-profit institutions.

In 2017, the international education sector contributed a total of $32.2 billion to the economy (US$ 24.7 billion). According to the latest data by The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the contribution of an international education activity to the Australian economy rose 22 per cent from 2016 to 2017, the largest annual growth recorded since 2008.

With such a significant contribution, the education system has constantly been organized for the future of the Australian economy as well as the society in their effort to become a leading global provider of education.

In order to reach that goal, several efforts have been put to practice to increase the efficiency and productivity level of the overall system. One of them is through the online application. 

Simplifying Online Application

Generally, most universities and colleges have their own online application form to help the marketing department gathers information from prospects with ease. However, there are still quite a number of institutions in Australia that are not fully aware of the importance of online application form, and thus, creating a rather difficult application process for prospects. The complexity in submitting the application form most often resulted in a gap that hinders universities from reaching their potential students. 

The experience of higher education institutions in Australia is also reflective of the higher education’s administrative inefficiency occurring worldwide. Some institutions, however, are smart enough to choose to adopt marketing automation into their operation by allowing third-party vendors to handle the application for them.

An example of such an institution is the Multimedia University, Cyberjaya. The adopted automation allows the university to engage with students based on their interests and demographics. Utilizing a system such as Sqayy gives the MMU a comprehensive view of the pre-admission process while at the same time, offers the institution the flexibility to customize the form according to their needs.  

Sqayy also offers a self-configurable system that provides ease of use for the marketing department to take control of the entire recruitment process. Not only that it comes with an interactive portal, but the system also allows prospects to submit multiple applications under the same profile.

With just a click of a button, all the information pertaining to a prospect is accessible by the marketing agent, making follow-ups a breeze.

Managing Agent Commissions 

Many universities have become experts in students’ data collection for the purpose of gaining insight into trends and behaviour. Some might utilize agents as a middle man to gain the data which in return will attract more prospects to come to the institutions.

According to Olsen (2007), student recruitment agents are a critical part of Australian institutions’ marketing and recruitment strategy. Approximately, 50% to 60% of international higher education students are recruited through agents which the number is relatively high. 

Agents are generally commissioned, with payments accounting for a proportion of the tuition fees paid to educational institutions. When properly managed, student recruitment agents have the capability to significantly enhance the reach of Australian educational institutions who seek to recruit international students. This method is perceived as a powerful tool to increase international student enrollment.

Hence, the commission paid to the agents is very important for both universities and agents. In the case where universities do not have a powerful system to keep track of all the commission payment, several problems will emerge such as, the inaccuracy of commission rate calculation, delayed payment to the agents as well as having an imprecise overall calculation on the cost spent on their agents. 

By using Sqayy, the university management can have peace of mind knowing that they do not need to worry about calculating the commission and payment for the agent. Sqayy will help calculate the commission based on agent/marketing staff tied to the prospect. All the commission which rate can be set according to the percentage (%) or dollars ($) are also able to be kept track by the system. 

The system at hand will automatically calculate the commissions once the agents secured a prospect, allowing both agents and universities to keep a record of the commission payment. Events where miscalculated commission paid to the agents can now be avoided. 

By utilizing the system, universities will also be in full knowledge of the amount of money they have spent on their agents.

Your Data in One Place

Back to the case study laid out at the beginning of the article, it was found that most institutions in Australia are integrated with more than one systems in their daily operations.  For example,  Marketing staff uses Client Relationship Management while Finance staff uses accounting software, etc.

Already, several difficulties posed themselves upon the adoption of such an operating principle. First, the system is unable to cater to all as they are not integrated or simply put, each of the systems is a stand-alone. 

Second, management must expect more costs to incur and third, data discrepancy will be reflected amongst departments and student portal, exposing the education institutions’ inefficiency.

Generally speaking, anyone, be it students or parents prefer to view all the information in one place instead of having to look at multiple places. Customers informed that during their use of more than one systems, incomplete data will likely be observed among departments.

With a comprehensive system offered by Sqayy, various data are now accessible through one, single system. Billing and collection normally used by Marketing and Library & Hostel barring used by Academic to bar student to print exam slip, exam results and semester registration, etc. are all accessible via a single, comprehensive system.

The problems stated previously which include operating department silos, massive interdependent data, data discrepancy amongst departments and many other conflicts in the system can now be eliminated once and for all.  

At the moment, most institutions in Australia perform manual invoice when billing students for a hostel room. With Sqayy, the system will automatically generate bills to students upon check-in or booking, depending on the institutions’ preference.

Once the system auto bills the hostel bill to the student, the Finance Department can simultaneously view the single screen which is Student Ledger situated in the Finance Modules.

The Sqayy system must not be underestimated, mistaking its function to be limited only to the process of billing automation since it can also cater as automation for reminders. The system has the capability to send auto-generated reminders via the student portal and students’ email reminding them to pay hostel fees, tuition fees, etc.

With students becoming more aware of their financial responsibilities, the direct consequence of this will be the increased productivity and efficiency for the Finance department since they now do not have to approach students manually, one by one, to remind them of their unpaid fees.  

Scholarship Tracking

With Sqayy, tracking students who are eligible for FEE-HELP  as well as keeping their records can be performed seamlessly. Staff can now put an end to the hassle of having to keep all the records in excel files and perform manual knock off for each of the invoice sent to the students once they obtain sponsorship.

From the students’ perspective, they can track the application status through the student portal. Moreover, Sqayy also has the capability to track the transaction on a specific sponsor to help institution claim for sponsor payment in the sponsor ledger.

So accompanied by the financial aid available in the system, it will save the Finance staff more time while at the same time improve cash flow.

Different sponsors differ in their minimum outstanding amount. The sponsored student will be blocked from performing activities such as self-registration, view exam results and print exam docket if the student outstanding is higher than the minimum outstanding amount set by the sponsor.

For Your Reporting Needs

Another universal struggle faced by institutions is the difficulty to generate or obtain reports containing real data in real-time. At times, when Top Management requires report during the meeting, it will take some time for staff to generate and gather all the data since they need to be retrieved from other departments.

A relatively long time will be needed to compile and prepare all the data required by the management, contributing to unnecessary stress caused by the system inefficiency.  

Sqayy has the ability to put all the unnecessary stress to end. The report can now be generated based on information which required minimal adjustment through filtration performed by the management.

Since all the data has been stored in the system, staff will be able to directly and automatically generate or favourite the report contained in the system whenever management requires it. 

Additionally, management is also able to analyse the program that brings in the most money to the institution from the generated report since it provides useful information.

Through real-time tracking that gains access to centralized, real-time insights, higher education management staff will be able to make accurate, informed decisions swiftly, thereby avoiding any potential roadblocks while maintaining your financial fluidity at all times.


Sqayy increases the efficiency & productivity of Marketing and Finance staff that mostly liaise with potential students and students. To learn more, contact us at hi@vialing.com or visit our site: Sqayy Automatic Student Billing

This article is prepared by Laila Syafinaz and Wani


Reference:

1. https://digitalmarketinginstitute.com/blog/6-obstacles-faced-by-australias-higher-education-sector

2. https://www.sagepub.com/sites/default/files/upm-binaries/50888_Chapter_22.pdf