Tips for selecting the right cohort management solution

Submitted by: Shannon Cross, USA Funds account executive

Finding the right partner to help with your default prevention efforts is an important part of improving or maintaining your cohort default rate (CDR) and boosting the efficiency of your financial aid team. Here are some tips to remember when looking for a cohort management solution provider:

1. Make sure you understand your institution’s default management goals and objectives.
Is the goal to generally reduce your CDR, reduce it to a specific target rate or maintain your current CDR? Are you looking to implement a wide-reaching default prevention program to counsel borrowers and improve future borrower repayment rates? Consider working with other departments on campus to help identify specific goals for your institution. When everyone understands the goal, it’s easier to assess which providers will actually meet your needs.

2. Know the specific services you are looking for.

• Are you looking for a solution focused on direct outreach to borrowers or one that asks
  borrowers to sign-up for services?
• Do you want vendors to focus on one specific cohort year or all three active cohorts?
• Are you looking for a fully outsourced solution, or will your institution want to play a larger role
  in your default prevention efforts?
• How about skip tracing?
• Do you need online system access and reporting features?
• Do you want dedicated technical support from your provider?
• Is it important to you to have periodic check-in meetings with your provider?
• What metrics will you use to evaluate the provider’s performance?

3. In your Request for Proposal (RFP), ask for standard pricing information from all vendors.
Consider whether your institution prefers an annual, all-inclusive price or a menu of options. When you are evaluating vendor pricing, make sure you are comparing apples-to-apples by asking for a specific description of the work that will be included in the cost provided. This should include details such as the number of borrowers that will be contacted and how costs are built into their models, with a clear explanation of the costs associated with any additional, add-on services.

If your school is looking for a cohort management solution, consider using USA Funds Borrower Connect™ to streamline your default prevention efforts. With three service levels, you can find one that meets your needs and your budget.