When we founded Parchment (as Docufide), transcripts were nearly exclusively exchanged as paper. Students walked their request into the office, their record was located in the student information system, printed, stamped, signed and put into an envelope where it would be mailed and then often scanned or keypunched by the receiver to bring it back to a digital format. We had a mission to transform this process and set about building a business case for an e-Transcript exchange.
During my research I quickly came across “A Business Case for the Electronic Exchange of Student Records.” The AACRAO SPEEDE Committee published this report in 1997 and was immensely valuable in helping us to demonstrate the expected operational efficiencies and cost savings the e-Transcripts promised. I revisited this study numerous times over the years, adjusting the numbers for inflation, as there was no further research available.
Since the SPEEDE business case was published, much has changed; e- Transcripts are no longer seen as something a school ‘may’ do, but is now a matter of ‘when’ they will adopt an e-Transcript solution, if they haven’t already. Today more than 7,000 high schools and colleges are exchanging e-Transcripts as active members in the Parchment network, with more colleges and universities joining every day. Despite this rapid migration from paper to an electronic exchange, there had not been an updated study documenting the real benefits that schools across the country were experiencing daily. Seeing this void, Parchment commissioned Eduventures, the industry leader in higher education research colleges experiences in adopting e-Transcripts.
That paper, titled Electronic Transcript Exchange: Benefits and Experiences of Early Postsecondary Adopters, was published in October 2012 with support from PESC, the standards-setting organization developing the standards that drive electronic transcripts.
- Cost Savings, with savings coming from reduced overtime and a decreased need for student workers to process inbound transcripts.
- Operational Process Efficiencies, with admission staff redeployed to higher priority functions, and weeks cut from the time taken to process applications.
- Improved Student Satisfaction, coming from reduced turnaround times to process transcript requests (from 3-5 days to less than 24 hours) while eliminating expedite fees that were no longer necessary.
Rusty Hartley, principal analyst at Eduventures noted that while “there are multiple reasons for schools to adopt electronic transcript exchange technology, the benefits extend throughout the educational value chain and far surpass simple cost savings.”
The white paper can be downloaded here.