Benefits of Electronic Signature Technology for Higher Education
For many universities and colleges, digital transformation is a priority. When higher education needed to close their buildings during the COVID-19 pandemic, they had to adapt to allow students to work remotely. Universities in the UK faced falling applications from EU countries this year, but there was an increase in UK applicants and from other areas. Many universities required government funding to help with the difficulties that arose following the pandemic. The changes have put a spotlight on digitisation so that universities and colleges, along with their teachers and students, can quickly adapt to the changes taking place. For example, successful higher education providers ensure they offer digital enrolment to increase efficiency.
Challenges and opportunities in higher education today
Higher education organisations have come up against new and existing challenges over the last decade. Here are the top challenges institutions, regardless of size and reputation, are facing:
- Increase of teaching online: students and teachers adapted to online learning during the pandemic and now need to decide what technology they wish to continue to use.
- There is uncertainty around how Brexit will continue to affect International student numbers from Europe. Any drop in students could affect university funding.
- A HEPI report suggests that additional higher education places will be needed until 2035 in England in light of changing demographics and participation - although places will be predicted to remain level for Scotland and Ireland.
- Increased competition: Universities and colleges manage increasing competition as online learning options multiply. The options available to today's students include sophisticated online graduate programs.
- Unpredictable funding: The 2021-22 total for teaching is 78% below the 2010-11 figure in real terms. In addition, there has been reduced funding for some art subjects in higher education.
Higher education agreements should be automated
In higher education, agreements are integral to most processes across departments and involve all stakeholders, such as students, staff, and teachers. Many institutions invest in customer relationship management tools (CRM), workflow management and ticketing. At the same time, some processes remain manual and paper-based. One way to improve inefficient processes is with electronic signature technology and a digital system of agreement like the DocuSign Agreement Cloud for Higher Education. It supports efforts to gain efficiencies, gain financial independence and thrive in a changing world of education. DocuSign is helping many higher education establishments prepare for the future.
Improve enrolment by simplifying admissions processes
The enrolment process has never been more important, and tech-savvy higher education establishments use analytics and technology to attract and retain students. Here’s how using electronic signatures and digitising the agreement process can help attract and retain applicants:
- Personalisation: Digital agreements provide students with a more customised experience through the admissions and financial aid processes.
- Student experience: Meet the expectation of tech-savvy students by implementing digital communications and processes.
- Speed: By streamlining processes and systems, higher education establishments can accelerate admissions and increase enrolment.
Effectively manage gifts and donation management
Nearly all British universities have charitable status because their primary purposes are to advance education and research that delivers benefit to the public. Electronic signatures and digital agreements can help to:
- Improve the donor experience: By adopting technology to simplify and personalise digital submission, schools can improve the way donors give through technology they want to use.
- Minimise pledge management risks: Automate and standardise agreements to prevent costly mistakes, such as sending repeated or incorrect requests.
- Enhance efficiency for employees: Automate manual tasks and complex workflows to streamline the gift agreements and donations. As teams evolve, automation also helps maintain overall business continuity.