The merry month of May is full of special occasions: Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, even a day to celebrate Star Wars. But for those of us in the higher ed industry, May represents spring graduation: one of the most meaningful events in a student’s journey. Whether these ceremonies take place in-person or virtually, they allow an institutional community to celebrate not just a student’s academic achievements, but the professional and earning potential that their diploma or certification confers upon that graduate.
There’s been plenty of research on how higher education symbolically and literally enriches the lives of students, families, and their broader communities. This belief in the value of higher education is why HBCUs (historically black colleges and universities) were established: to improve access, increase diversity, and provide academic excellence at an affordable price. A study conducted by the United Negro College Fund found that HBCUs generate $14.8B in economic impact each year, and that the 50,000 HBCU graduates in 2014 are predicted to earn $130B over their lifetimes – a 56% increase over their earning potential without a college credential. The economic and social impact of the HBCU community is profound: while HBCUs make up only 3% of all total U.S. higher education institutions, they produce nearly 20% of all Black graduates.
This month Oracle welcomes Coppin State University and Bowie State University to the Oracle Student Financial Planning family. Together with Florida A&M University, these schools represent Oracle’s growing momentum in the HBCU community. This growing momentum is an endorsement of Oracle’s vision to “swing wide the campus gates” and increase access and affordability for students. We also hope that the addition of institutions whose primary mission is equity and social justice will help SFP continue to evolve the ways it helps institutions spend time on students.
“Our focus at Coppin is to transform our students’ experience. With Oracle Student Financial Planning, we can offer our students increased visibility into their college financial planning, and an easier digital experience. This will support them in making better informed decisions with improved outcomes, helping ensure greater success.”
- Ahmed El-Haggen, CIO and VP of Information Technology and Advancement, Coppin State University
Bowie State and Coppin State belong to the University System of Maryland, a public system made up of three regional centers and twelve institutions (three of which are classified as HBCUs). Both institutions are committed to supporting underserved populations: 36% of Bowie State and 68% of Coppin State students are first-generation students, and 50% of Bowie State and 60% of Coppin State students receive Pell Grants.
Bowie State University has been named as one of the top five Maryland institutions for graduating Black students with bachelor’s degrees in nursing, biology and computer sciences, and its cybersecurity program has been designated by the NSA and the DHS as a National Center of Academic Excellence. “At Bowie State University, we are working to remove the financial barriers that too often prevent students from successfully completing their education,” Brian Clemmons, Bowie State’s Vice President for Enrollment Management, says. “Oracle Student Financial Planning will provide a window for students to see their full financial picture as they explore options to pay for college and the digital dashboard enables them to seamlessly navigate through the financial aid processes to secure all available resources to assure their success.”
Founded in 1900, Coppin State is known for supporting a large population of nontraditional, multigenerational students: for example, the average age of a Coppin State student is 26, and 61% are working adults with children. As Ahmed El-Haggan, Coppin State’s CIO and VP of Information Technology and Advancement, says, “Our focus at Coppin is to transform our students’ experience. With Oracle Student Financial Planning, we can offer our students increased visibility into their college financial planning, and an easier digital experience. This will support them in making better informed decisions with improved outcomes, helping ensure greater success.”
The value of a Bowie State or Coppin State degree is immense: the UNCF estimates that graduates from these schools will earn (over their lifetimes) nearly $1M in additional income due to their credentials. Accordingly, these schools recognize that providing students with a more transparent financial aid process will help students make more informed choices and minimize debt as they pursue their education.
Oracle SFP will be fundamental to the work of the financial aid office. Automating up to 90% of the financial aid process, from ISIR processing to disbursement, SFP empowers financial aid officers to move away from manual processes (such as managing ISIR verification or confirming student eligibility for different types of federal and non-federal funding). Instead, they can spend time assisting their students in more meaningful ways -- ensuring they make it across that graduation stage.
“At Bowie State University, we are working to remove the financial barriers that too often prevent students from successfully completing their education. Oracle Student Financial Planning will provide a window for students to see their full financial picture as they explore options to pay for college and the digital dashboard enables them to seamlessly navigate through the financial aid processes to secure all available resources to assure their success.
- Brian Clemmons, Vice President for Enrollment Management, Bowie State University
To learn more about Oracle Student Financial Planning, visit our website or this recent Inside Higher Ed article featuring implementing customers, FAMU and Spring Arbor University. You can also watch our February 2021 webinar to hear FAMU’s VP of Student Affairs, Dr. William Hudson, Jr. talk about his school’s vision for financial aid and see a demo of SFP. Finally, register today for our upcoming webinar on May 5th, 2021 at 2 PM EST/11 AM PST, where Rutgers University’s AVP of Enrollment Services Jean McDonald-Rash will share how Rutgers is modernizing their own financial aid experience with Oracle Student Financial Planning. See you then!