Slate Festival Highlights

Senior Analyst

Top of Mind: Slate Festival Highlights
Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

In May, I attended several of the Slate Festival webinars, which featured client testimonials on a myriad of topics ranging from integrating with Slate, creating innovative marketing campaigns, using technology to reduce summer melt, leveraging financial aid insights in recruitment and admissions, and more. At the end of the series, what struck me was the camaraderie and the willingness to help and share across the Slate user community. As all Slate users already know, Technolutions has taken a unique approach in delivering its applications. Instead of providing structured, out-of-the-box applications, the company’s mantra is that each institution is unique and has its own business processes. As such, Technolutions provides users with all the templates, components, and tools needed to configure best-of-breed applications based on institution-specific needs. This approach allows institutions to use their creativity and innovation in different ways.

One of the webinars featured Axiom Elite, a two-way integration and ETL tool that allows institutions to connect Slate to other third-party systems, such as Ellucian Banner Student, Colleague Student, PowerFAIDS, Modern Campus Lumens, and more. The company has developed Slate “bundles” that contain a Slate Suitcase of queries and corresponding data mappings to facilitate Slate integrations. Axiom Elite extracts data from source systems, validates it, translates it, and performs data matching prior to loading it into the target systems. The data matching is a differentiator and reduces duplications.

While Axiom Elite was initially designed primarily for recruitment and admissions data, the solution can also integrate data with Slate for Student Success. Slate for Student Success integrations can be accommodated using two approaches: bundles of pre-engineered queries and institution-provided queries/views that are pulled into Axiom Elite. The company is also in the early stages of developing integrations for Slate for Advancement to Ellucian Banner Student, Colleague Student, and other third-party solutions.

Another webinar showcased how Bellarmine University is securely leveraging financial aid and scholarship insights to drive enrollment. Due to the sensitivity of financial aid data, the institution created custom tabs to lock down the data to a few specific administrators. Bellarmine built a proprietary SlateSync tool that synchronizes data between the student system and Slate. The university built tables, queries, and data mappings that pull the source data and load it into the student record multiple times each day. Bellarmine also loaded historical/census files for the years 2020 through 2023 to provide a four-year analysis.

Using Slate, Bellarmine created a financial aid custom table displaying FAFSA details, award letter details, and award package details. In addition, two formula fields were created on the custom tab to display discount and net tuition revenue (NTR), which previously had to be calculated manually. By moving this data into Slate, Bellarmine recruiters gain greater insights earlier in the enrollment funnel, which allows them to drive enrollment. Administrators can monitor discounts, NTR, and average student aid to support outreach teams with segmentation since they don’t have direct access to this data.

A third session focused on creating innovative student outreach with Waybetter Marketing. A key message was how prospective students like to hear from other students, specifically in the format of videos and fast facts. Language should be simple, and clarity is paramount. Some institutions are using trivia portals to keep students engaged over the summer to reduce summer melt.

A second topic from the Waybetter session centered on enrollment portals and the power of non-gated portals that are public facing and don’t require a login for access. Institutions are finding success in using non-gated portals to allow prospective students to quickly find information via easy navigation to virtual campus tours, visitor pages, transfer credit evaluations, and more. Digital advertising campaign portals allow institutions to gather information as students click through the ads indicating their personal interests. Likewise, search portals can also be used to identify student interests.

This blog provides insights from just a few of the sessions. As mentioned earlier, I was so impressed with how close-knit the Slate community is and how willing institutions are to help each other. As a higher education analyst, I speak with representatives from institutions each day, and one thing that never changes is the enormous positivity Slate clients exude. Institutions are always ready and willing to jump on a call to help another institution, troubleshoot an issue, or share examples. This is what higher education is all about—working together to support the greater good of each institution and its students.

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Senior Analyst
As a senior analyst for Tambellini Group, Mary Beth Cahill focuses her research on CRM and advancement initiatives. She has led numerous research efforts, specifically in vendor administrative systems and student information systems (SIS) software solutions, data and learning analytics, CRM, learning management, and social networking. Mary Beth is also the co-author of several published industry reports, including Tambellini Group's "Upgrade or Replace" and "Vendor Review" series of reports.

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