Higher education is a staple in American cultural values. Government entities, both at the state and local level, recognize this by funding various educational institutions.
Over the past 25 years, state and local governments increased financial support for higher education by more than 166%. However, with the 2008 recession and subsequent end of the education stimulus package in 2012, grants are more competitive and regulatory compliance measures are stricter than ever. This forces higher education grant managers to remain efficient, transparent and compliant to win funds.
In this post, we highlight three steps toward more effective grant management in higher education. They are designed to ensure the proper allocation of current funds and the winning of future monies through greater reporting capabilities.
1. Understand Your Needs
Funding and grant management needs vary among institutions based on structure and operations—e.g. community colleges versus state universities. Grant management solutions, however, are flexible enough to meet the needs of each individualized case within higher education funding models.
For both state universities and individual university institutions, offices are often centralized but may lack in operational efficiency. Decentralized operations can lead to mismanaged grants, leaving you vulnerable to non-compliance with funders’ regulations. For these institutions, grant management software can aid by centralizing operations, increasing efficiency, and decreasing time allocated to grant application and management.
Community colleges tend to have different needs for grant management. Grants awarded to community college are often short-term (3-4 year) consortia grants with sub-recipients. These sub-recipients tend to complicate grant management processes because each usually has independent financial and performance reporting systems. Comprehensive grant management software can help streamline complex allocation of funds and goals to multiple sub-recipients.
2. Map Your Current Workflow
Many organizations dealing with grant applications and management use the tools they have at hand to piece together a grant management workflow. These workflows are often comprised of word processing documents and spreadsheets cluttering a server. In order to delegate work, and remind employees of responsibilities, grant managers send emails.
Does this sound like a process you currently have in place? If so, you are probably spending more time organizing and communicating data than you are managing it.
A consolidated system comprised of all documents, deadlines, delegated tasks and progress can expedite workflows, save time and ensure compliance.
3. Accept the Challenge of Change
Humans are creatures of habit. Whether those habits are harmful or helpful seems not to matter as long as they are consistent. To evolve, we must embrace change and see the benefit of the end goal despite the time it might take to achieve it. Those that adopt grant management software reduce administrative time by an average of 72%, and have quick access to finance and performance metrics for compliance assurance.
Grant management software solutions are tailored to your organization’s specific needs, meaning that implementation can only help you. However, like any period of change, make sure you stay communicative and available to you team as you roll out these tools to ensure success from day one.
What grant management solution does your higher education funding office use? If you’re like most, it is probably an ad-hoc solution. Contact a StreamLink Software representative today to see how your office can expedite processes.
Image source: Liz West via FlickR