How an Allied Health School Upgraded its SIS to Support Strong Growth
About International College of Health Sciences (ICHS)
ICHS grew from 200 to 1,500 students in three years while partnering with Campus Cafe
The International College of Health Sciences is not your traditional allied health school. The fast-growing school, which offers degrees in nursing and diagnostic stenography, has increased enrollment from a few hundred to more than 1,500 students in just three years. And they’re not done yet. Over the next several years, ICHS projects it will enroll 10,000 students in its health sciences programs.
Like many career schools, ICHS follows a non-traditional model that fits into its students’ busy lives. Most students work full-time while pursuing their degrees, and ICHS offers online and in-person learning and a flexible schedule to meet their needs.
Each program operates weekly modules, and students have a week to complete their assignments. They can watch live lectures and interact online with instructors. Student advisors are available to help with coursework and support. Students visit campus for clinical practice and exams.
The school’s schedule and growing population differ from traditional postsecondary programs and present unusual technology demands. ICHS is continuously fielding inquiries and applications, managing student information for an increasing student population, and scheduling and managing their coursework for online and in-person activities and exams. That much activity demands a robust, integrated student information system.
Several years ago, the school’s President and CEO, Jay Ober, was tasked with finding a new SIS to meet its data and technology needs. A veteran higher education administrator, Ober had experience working with several SISs and was confident he could find the right technology partner and a capable system.
ICHS: A Snapshot
A Scalable System with Responsive Support
While ICHS utilized the Stars student information system, administrators were frustrated by its limitations. Ober said Stars didn’t handle data sufficiently and could not integrate with third-party software and apps. The SIS also lacked options to customize functions.
Making matters worse, the school couldn’t get the technical support and customer service it needed. When users asked for help, Ober said it was difficult to get a timely response and helpful intervention. Often, tech support told ICHS users they were making mistakes, and the school would have to spend extra money to rectify problems or improve the system. To better manage its current student population and data needs, ICHS leaders wanted to deploy a robust student information system that would reliably process its data, generate accurate reports, and better manage student records, registration, and communications. They also needed accessible, responsive customer and technical support.
Additionally, as the school headed to its target of 10,000 students, a new SIS would need the horsepower to handle more data and users
Campus Cafe Meets ICHS's Unique Needs
Reliable and efficient technical support and troubleshooting, including nights and weekends.
Option to add custom features to forms and reports to accommodate the school’s special enrollment and programs.
Ability to integrate third-party apps, including electronic documents and signatures.
System capable of accommodating growing school population and steady increase in data and users.
A strong working relationship with a technology partner staked in the school’s success.
Help new and existing users learn to use the system and respond to technical issues.
A New SIS with Customization and Robust Support
Ober says his school stands apart because it accommodates its students’ busy lives. Similarly, he noted ICHS needed an SIS that was adaptable and flexible. Along with the current study body, future ICHS classes will need support from admissions, registration, career services, and alumni relations.
There would probably be demands on the new system that administrators hadn’t even considered, but Ober knew it needed to be customizable.
“We needed a system that spoke our language,” Ober said.
As he considered new systems, Ober said he wanted more than just a software system; He wanted a technology partner that offered flexibility, collaboration, and top-notch customer service and invested in ICHS’s success. The SIS needed to be modern and integrated, accommodate third-party apps, and be customizable.
Ober wanted to streamline admissions and registration forms. For example, Ober wanted to integrate electronic signature capability with DocuSign, allowing students to sign and submit documents online. At the time, Campus Cafe didn’t offer that option, but the team have subsequently added an integration which saves times for students and the ICHS staff.
To support users, ICHS wanted their new SIS partner to provide responsive technical support, including on nights and weekends when its students were in class. Ober didn’t want to pay additional fees for changes or fixes and wanted a direct line to company leaders.
While other SIS companies pitched modules and packages that were expensive or cookie-cutter, Ober said Campus Cafe listened to his priorities and offered a system that satisfied the requirements.
When other companies said something couldn’t be done or would cost more, Ober said Campus Cafe was willing and able. For instance, to gather information on applicants, Ober wanted a simple drop-down box where prospects could check off any medical training or experience they might have. While technology companies said they couldn’t create that option, Campus Cafe quickly created the custom option.
Similarly, Campus Cafe created a DocuSign integration to meet ICHS’ need for easy and rapid document processing.
When Ober calls for assistance or technical support, he said the Campus Cafe is always quick to respond and solve problems. Customer support and technical assistance are readily available, including nights and weekends. Significantly, Ober added that Campus Cafe doesn’t make ICHS users feel like problems are their fault and ask for additional fees to resolve issues.
Across campus, all of ICHS’ departments and stakeholders are using Campus Cafe, and Ober said the system is performing exceptionally well. He said the registration tools have helped support students and improved efficiency. The system seamlessly supports admissions and allows staff to manage inquiries and prospects. Campus Cafe supports ICHS’ third-party integrations, including DocuSign, Microsoft’s Azure, and Windows 360. As ICHS continues its planned expansion, Ober is confident that Campus Cafe will meet its needs to process data, support users, offer responsive help, and design integrations.
“The relationship has never changed. There is great access to customer service, and we can make some custom changes without it being a big deal,” he said.