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Financial Wellness Center aims to customize student support

The Financial Wellness Center specializes in enhancing students’ understanding of the role that finance plays in their lives and assisting them to make smart, informed decisions about their money. The center aims to improve the way it supports students by providing the right information at the right time to the right students.

“Each student’s financial wellness journey is unique, shaped by their distinct needs, circumstances, goals and aspirations,” explained Gabrielle Mcallaster, director of the Financial Wellness Center. “It is clear that a one-size-fits-all approach to financial counseling does not suffice, and our students require distinctive guidance and support tailored to their individual situations.”

To accomplish this and to prepare for an increasing student population, the center is evaluating its processes and exploring how technology can support staff in providing students with an experience tailored to their needs and interests.

The center is partnering with University Information Technology to pilot Salesforce as a customer relationship management platform. The way the system is configured, each student’s personalized journey begins with their profile, including demographic information, eliminating the need to ask redundant questions during each visit. Student profiles also serve as a repository for staff to add case notes from one-on-one counseling sessions and view notes from previous sessions, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of each student’s progress over time at the university.

Additionally, staff can indicate students’ interests on their profile, such as investing, saving or budgeting. The technology then uses this information to invite students to workshops related to their interests, enhancing engagement and support.

Moreover, through the platform, the center can send automated communications to students. For example, if a student misses their counseling session, they will receive an email asking them to reschedule. This feature enhances the center’s ability to maintain consistent communication with students and helps students stay informed and engaged.

While this initial effort is focused on updating the Financial Wellness Center’s case management processes and implementing customized and automated follow-up communications to help students work toward their financial goals, it also presents an opportunity to prepare for future expansion into other Student Affairs departments. Collaborating with various departments within UIT, Student Affairs will use this test case to learn and plan for how to create the most seamless experience for students.

“As we look to incorporate this into more departments, we envision curating a host of information, resources, invitations, follow-ups, and connections from a wide range of offices,” said Annalisa Purser, special assistant for strategic initiatives in Student Affairs. “We want to be proactive in providing students with personalized information and experiences to support their individual student journeys.”