The Core Benefits of RPA for Higher Education

Janine Chasmer
Janine Chasmer

Over the last year, Robotic Process Automation [RPA] grew by a staggering 63.1%, making it the fastest-growing segment of the global software market.


In providing organisations with a readily programmed ‘virtual employee’, RPA increases both efficiency and quality in output, through the effective delivery of high-volume processes.

For industry sectors battling with growing costs and a decline in revenue, it offers the perfect solution to re-balancing outgoings whilst aiding improved service delivery.

A prime example is Higher Education. 

Having experienced minimal growth in recent years, UK Universities are starting to wake up to the power of RPA, with many digitising processes to reduce outgoings and increase student engagement.

For Higher Education establishments yet to embrace RPA, what are the core benefits? And how can RPA aid Universities in driving competitive advantage?

Reduces administrative costs

In recent years, there has been steady growth in the number of full-time, non-academic employees appointed to UK universities2, demonstrating an increase in administrative workload and, therefore, cost.

Implementing an effective RPA strategy will streamline day-to-day processes, whilst reducing the burden of mundane and repetitive tasks on admin staff.

High volume and repetitive processes like student onboarding can be completed through RPA, enabling administration staff to focus on higher-level duties that support the growth and development of the establishment in hand.

Improves service delivery

RPA enables Higher Education establishments to significantly improve quality of output through the fast and effective completion of high-volume digital tasks.

In removing any potential for human error, repetitive digital processes are programmed and automatically completed, significantly increasing operational efficiency.

For process heavy but important tasks such as grant administration, financial aid or other vital student services, RPA can, therefore, benefit staff and students alike; ensuring staff are not pressurised to complete such tasks within a short and potentially unrealistic timeframe and students can receive the vital support they need, quickly.

Improves job satisfaction

RPA effectively replaces repetitive tasks, meaning staff members can focus on what matters: the delivery of a quality higher education experience for students.

A prime example is processing admissions. In the UK, there are just under 2 Million Undergraduates who enrol in University each academic year. Utilising RPA for this process not only saves significant time, but also enables administration staff to focus on more important tasks that support the growth and development of the University in hand.

When employees feel they are vital to the operation of an organisation as opposed to a simple cog in the wheel, their job satisfaction increases. RPA removes the mundane and allows this happen.

Increases competitive advantage

The modern undergraduates looking at prospective universities are part of the tech-savvy generation, who expect fast, effective information, preferably delivered in real-time.

By maximising RPA, Higher Education establishments can significantly improve service delivery and increase student satisfaction. A prime example is the provision of accessible digital documentation to aid students in studying for their degree. Aside from reducing touch points, this one automation reduces student frustration and improves their university experience.

As a result, student retention levels are likely to increase, providing competitive advantage for the university in hand.

Ultimately, RPA offers limitless potential for the modern university, where the establishments that have taken advantage of it have implemented hundreds of automations to significantly reduce manual hours, improving operational efficiencies, service delivery and student experience as a result.

With continued, accelerated growth forecast the next 5 years, RPA is here to stay. The sooner universities embrace its potential, the sooner they can increase student engagement and drive competitive advantage.

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More about the author

Janine Chasmer
Janine Chasmer - Principal Consultant

Janine’s career includes 10 years in the not-for-profit sector, specifically within membership, and she leverages her industry expertise and first-hand experience with a wider range of clients, including Membership and Charity, where she provides consultancy on a range of areas including Business Strategy, Customer Experience improvement and process optimisation. In recent years, Janine has applied these consulting skills to the Education sector, supporting HE and FE institutions to improve their applicant and student experience at key phases such as application, enrolment, Clearing and progression. Other projects include Digital and Data Strategy, process and automation, and Student Journey optimisation. She has also worked as a SRM Functional Consultant, using this unique insight of both sector knowledge, and enabling technology to achieve transformational outcomes. Janine is also a regular event speaker and creates and shares industry and sector insights with her network.

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