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Advantage Design Group
June 07, 2021

Great Timing for Advantage Orientation®

<p>Great Timing for Advantage Orientation<sup>®</sup></p>

Applying HEERF to Online Orientation

Coming off a year of change reactions, the convergence of potential trends in technology and the extension of federal funding may present a strategic opportunity for Higher Education. Recent reports discuss the power and pitfalls associated with the repurposing of existing and the adoption of niche technologies intended to support learning. Many institutions, with the help of HEERF, are deploying Advantage Orientation® earlier in the student journey to meet students where they are and provide more personalized content to reinforce enrollment decisions. To implement the early engagement strategy more effectively, some of the most successful deployments of Advantage Orientation® are showing measurable outcomes, including onboarding experience satisfaction, readiness, and yield.

Securing Funding Resources

According to the Department of Education website, Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund III (HEERF III), authorized by the American Rescue Plan (ARP), was signed into law March 11, 2021. The deadline to apply is August 11, 2021. Application is not necessary if previous HEERF funds were received. Institutions generally must expend their HEERF grant funds within one year from the date when the Department processed the most recent obligation of funds for each specific grant. The site also states, “given the emergency nature of HEERF grants, the Department encourages grantees to use their awards to cover expenses associated with the coronavirus as they arise and not hold off on doing so.”

Your Funding Allocation

HEERF III Allocations for Public and Nonprofit Institutions under ARP section 2003(a)(1) are listed here.

Funding Advantage Orientation®

Since March 2020, over 140 U.S. colleges and universities have adopted Advantage Orientation® to welcome, inform, and prepare new students and their families to successfully transition to college. Of those, 15 institutions in nine states report the use of the institutional portion of HEERF to fund initial development of Advantage Orientation®. A portion of these institutions also met grant qualifications as HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities), HIS (Hispanic-Serving Institution), and AANAPISI (Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution).

Change Reaction Pitfalls

Each year, Educause publishes its Horizon Report, tracking trends, technologies, and key practices in teaching and learning. In a recent podcast with Rhea Kelly of Campus Technology, Kathe Pelletier, director of Educause’s Teaching and Learning Program and co-author of the report, discusses these trends and their impact.

In the podcast, Pelletier points out “this year, the entire set of trends in the technological category are completely brand new, which is not surprising when you think about higher ed's really abrupt leap to delivering remote learning. All sorts of other offices that also had to go remote, are leveraging either new technologies or technologies and new ways to continue to serve students.”

As discussed in this article, rapid technology adoption has led to “digital sprawl,” leaving some colleges and universities facing “change fatigue associated with rapid digital transformation” after being forced to shift all operations online. Some schools bought and installed new technologies, while others patched together legacy systems, leaving “higher ed caught in a spiderweb of good intentions.” For example, many adopters of Advantage Orientation® report a previous attempt to repurpose their learning manage system (LMS) to deliver orientation information with limited success.

Powerful Advantage Orientation® Models

Rather than performing as a single purpose, “niche technology,” potentially contributing to digital sprawl, Advantage Orientation® is proving an effective, flexible, manageable, and sustainable solution improving the college onboarding and enrollment experience for students and staff.

Some of the most successful adaptations of Advantage Orientation® lean on cross-departmental collaboration to avoid technology redundancies, aligning existing technologies to the student journey, and developing personalized and modular content (for any number of audience types) to guide them toward taking next steps. When combined with unlimited training, Branded UX design, video, and the platform’s unique capabilities to communicate with other systems to enable automation, staff are achieving greater efficiencies of scale. These leaders are now able to shift their attention to providing students with more opportunities to connect in more meaningful ways, making Advantage Orientation® the perfect bridge between high tech and high touch.

“We decreased no-show rates by over 10% during the pandemic and enrolled the largest freshman class in University history.”

“We really wanted to make orientation a collegial experience.”

“Using an LMS as an orientation was clunky, wasn’t exciting, and ended up giving us more work.”

Great Timing!

So, as you prepare to secure HEERF as a funding resource, you can make Advantage Orientation® part of your plan and look forward to achieving greater orientation and onboarding outcomes. Learn more, request a live tour or take a self-guided tour to experience Advantage Orientation® for yourself.