Intelligent Virtual Assistants Go to College: Student Web Self-Service

September 2, 2013 Audrey Dalton

Financial Aid and the FAFSA

The dreaded financial aid application tests the patience of even the most motivated students. Students are required to contact aid counselors by email, create multiple profiles for the school, third party companies, and for the well-known Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA. Although the process has been simplified over the years, it’s still a lengthy undertaking with numerous opportunities for missteps. Pueblo Community College (PCC) is one school that’s taken proactive measures to help incoming students understand what financial aid is, what it covers and the importance of early and accurate applications.

Anthony, PCC’s intelligent virtual assistant gives students a detailed run down on FAFSA availability, the definition of a dependent vs. independent student, verification and timing for receipt of funds and so much more. Since Anthony’s arrival on the Financial Aid website, he’s helped thousands prepare for the application process with a year over year increase in usage. During heavy application times, students typically want to learn about the definition of financial aid, the FAFSA, and next steps. This past quarter, Anthony has assisted over 400 students through the financial aid process.

New Student Orientation

So now the applicant becomes the student having overcome the challenges of admissions and financial aid. He or she is excited, nervous, and a bit overwhelmed about their academic load, new friends, campus life, and extracurricular activities.

So imagine alleviating some of that anxiety by providing the student the opportunity to explore campus resources, organizations, sports clubs, academic policies, etc. with the assistance of a friendly virtual guide — before arriving on campus. Well, that’s the reality for thousands of transfer students who attend Texas State University.  Bobby, the Texas State virtual tour guide welcomes incoming transfer students and takes them through the online new student orientation. She overviews the most critical information such as transfer credits, residential policy and the new student handbook as well as student services, activities, and athletics.  She sums up her tour by advising them to take the registration quiz, which helps them complete the online course registration. Since Bobby’s implementation in March of 2012, she’s helped over 5000 students transition to Texas State University. Higher education

institutions, such as Texas State University and Pueblo Community College have differentiated themselves by establishing a self-service option to assist applicants with financial aid and orientation. With the use of intelligent virtual assistants, they’ve been able to increase engagement, reduce financial aid errors, and deflect calls.

Would you like to know more? See our service advisor solutions here or contact us for a demo.

About the Author

Audrey Dalton

Audrey holds nearly 10 years of B2B/B2C sales, marketing, and communications experience. She manages the content strategy and development for multimedia campaigns and digital marketing programs at CodeBaby. She also has wistful aspirations to be a globetrotting mega DJ.

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