What Is CRRSAA Funding?
The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) follows the CARES Act as the second piece of federal legislation that contains significant COVID-19 relief funding for colleges and universities. $22.7 billion has been distributed to higher education institutions to help them prevent, prepare for, and respond to challenges related to the pandemic.
Keep in mind, CRRSAA funding can only be applied to the following:
- The required amount of financial aid grants to students of “exceptional need”
- Defraying expenses associated with COVID-19
- Student support activities addressing needs related to COVID-19
- Additional financial aid grants
It’s possible that your institution qualifies for CRRSAA funding. How are you planning to use it to support your students?
Retention and Engagement Challenges in 2021
Before utilizing your CRRSAA funding, it’s essential to evaluate your institution’s potential challenges in 2021. It’s likely that you’re dealing with disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, you may be operating with fully remote classes or other restrictions.
During this difficult time, your students could be receiving conflicting information from different offices on campus. Your staff may be operating with limited resources while handling an influx of student inquiries. At the same time, you likely have less insight than ever into student satisfaction.
In this moment, your students may feel isolated, and they need a reliable and convenient source of information. Empathetic communication from your institution is critical to provide them with a sense of belonging.
Using CRRSAA Funding to Support Students With Behavioral Intelligence
CRRSAA was created in the spirit of supporting students, so many institutions are using their funding to invest in their communication strategies by adopting behaviorally intelligent chatbot technology. Fostering meaningful, personalized interactions between your students and your institution is not only critical to student success, it also helps administrators truly understand what students need most.
Behaviorally intelligent chatbots deliver relevant information to students in real-time, and they route conversations to a human when escalation is appropriate. They also enable you to actively listen to students at scale. This makes it possible for you to assess what matters most to your students, so you can personalize your conversations and help students feel supported during the pandemic.
How AdmitHub’s Partners Use Chatbots to Engage Students
AdmitHub partners with hundreds of colleges and universities to help them engage and retain more students with human-centric chatbots. For example, Saginaw Valley State University’s bot, Coop, sent out a text messaging campaign to check in on students’ wellbeing and to find out what may help improve their college experience. This gave SVSU’s leadership visibility into the key issues they need to address moving forward.
Chatbots remove judgment from the equation, so students are more willing than you may expect to share their story. Students sent more than 22,000 student messages to Coop, and more than 84 percent of active users engaged with the bot. Over the course of several campaigns, SVSU found that 95 percent of incoming questions were handled through automation — enabling staff to focus their efforts on more complex interactions with students that required a human touch.
Another AdmitHub partner, Cal State Polytechnic University, Pomona, used their chatbot to text message freshmen and transfer students to support their transition to campus. They used this campaign to help students overcome complicated logistical challenges and encourage them to participate in community activities that eased their transitions to the university.
The campaign drove an 82 percent student engagement rate and freed up staff members to dedicate more than 1300 additional hours to high-touch student challenges over a one-year period.