Is Compliance a Burden?

How much time do you spend reviewing system generated reports attempting to identify situations of concern related to compliance driven burdens?
Did you know that a 2015 Vanderbilt University study extrapolated higher education spent approximately $27 billion annually to stay in compliance with the various requirements[1]

“This study confirms what we have found at Hartwick—that compliance with federal regulations results in a significant direct and indirect financial cost,” Margaret Drugovich, president of Hartwick College, said.
“Dozens of staff contribute to compliance efforts, at all levels throughout the college. Because compliance is labor intensive, there are opportunity costs as well – our faculty and staff divert their attention from the direct support of our students in an effort to complete compliance-related activities. It is impossible to measure the impact of this lost opportunity, but we know that, as a small liberal arts institution, these efforts represent a cost that is significant. We continue to work to manage these costs, and appreciate the additional insight that this study provides.” [2]

Sound familiar?

In all my meetings with postsecondary institutions the number one reported pain point centers around the collection of data and the reporting capabilities of the current legacy School Information System.

The first question is does your SIS have the capability for all departments to work in manner that key data inputs are captured and available to support all aspects of the compliance burden? Routinely, institutions opt for disconnected solutions that provide department specific advantages but rely upon individuals to consolidate data points into a compliance submittal.

This becomes painfully evident when administrators look to formalize program accreditation as a path to Title IV. They first run into the accreditation burden of providing student life cycle completion data. Questions like, how many started, completed, placed in-field and passed licensing exams? Are a wakeup call.

Then they get introduced to the alphabet soup of learning to spell Title IV. Terms like, IPEDS, NSLDS, FISAP, and 90/10. These are all compliance burdens that require administrators to keep a conscientious attention to support. Without a fully linked technology workflow huge drains on the resources expended to meet the institutions compliance reporting can result.

How do you assess if your technology is a burden? Ask your staff how long it takes to complete an IPEDS or an accreditation report.
If it is not pushbutton accessible and drillable to debug, then how do you ensure accuracy? This is a good starting point to reduce your contribution to the annual cost of compliance.