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Higher Ed

University of Florida Delivers Fast COVID-19 Assistance with FormAssembly

university of florida logo
TJ Summerford,Gator360 Team Manager Enterprise Salesforce Team

Case Study Snapshot

During a time when many organizations around the world have had to quickly design plans and contingencies, higher education institutions have also been forced to rapidly adapt. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, staff at the University of Florida in Gainesville developed several key initiatives to provide aid to students and help staff and faculty through new online processes. To ease this transition, the university used FormAssembly to generate secure online forms quickly for maximum reach and impact. With over 4 million Salesforce records populating EDA objects in the org, a personalized user experience was achieved by leveraging the pre fill connector.

About University of Florida

  • Creates a connected campus through the university’s rapidly expanding Enterprise (UFIT) Salesforce org
  • Since 2018, the org has grown from 100 users to over 700 through the development of case management and projects based on individual needs
  • UFIT’s goal is to continually provide new and improved functionality for campus users, which includes students, staff, and stakeholders
The Numbers
May 4
launch date for Aid-a-Gator
12,000
form submissions to date
$10+ million
in funds dispersed

The need

New Processes to Address Global Challenges

The COVID-19 crisis presented many significant challenges. Not only was there a shift in the way that students were able to attend and finish on-campus courses, but there was also an immediate need for tangible assistance.

In terms of course completion, students and faculty were faced with a dramatic change in procedures. Although communication was still critical, methods of instruction and assignment submission were forced to adjust with little time to prepare.

Additionally, the crisis presented unique hardships for students and staff that had lost reliable income, housing, and other resources. The university needed to find a way to understand these hardships and distribute existing funds to support those in need.

…the crisis presented unique hardships for students and staff that had lost reliable income, housing, and other resources.

The solution

Fast, Connected Web Forms

In navigating both of these challenges, university staff were able to create new data solutions that offered security, speed, and efficiency. With little time to plan and prepare, having a data collection platform that offered powerful flexibility and security was crucial. Enterprise Salesforce Team members were able to implement and release two major form solutions at the beginning of May 2020 that garnered thousands of responses in a short period of time.

“With little time to plan and prepare, having a data collection platform that offered powerful flexibility and security was crucial.“

Use Cases

A revamped Aid-a-Gator process enables the distribution of federal funding for emergency assistance.

The university’s Aid-a-Gator program is a longstanding initiative to deliver resources to students and staff in need. These needs often appear in times of emergency or crisis, and funds have been used in the past after natural disasters, like hurricanes. In 2020, the coronavirus pandemic rapidly increased the number of students and community members who needed to request different types of financial support.

Amidst the COVID-19 crisis, the university received funds from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This provided emergency funding to help qualifying individuals receive federal aid for unexpected expenses related to travel, housing, technology requirements, and other unforeseen circumstances.

A revamped Aid-a-Gator form process was designed to deliver easy access for requests related to the CARES Act. The newest form was created with conditional logic, and when each form is submitted, it creates a case tied to Aid-a-Gator and a related record in Salesforce. On the backend, staff review the associated attachments, written letters, and anticipated budget needs.

Although the Aid-a-Gator relief process was traditionally available through a paper form, the number of submissions was historically low. The newest version of form is also set up through the Human Resources department so that resources can be distributed to university staff members on an as-needed basis.

Given the nature of government funding, the university will be able to use important form data and Salesforce insights to generate reports and analysis of all distributed funds.

aid request form builder example

The Satisfactory-Unsatisfactory form option allows students to elect the type of final grading they wish to pursue.

The grade option form, built by TJ Sumerford, Gator360 Manager, allows students to select which courses they want to submit for pass/fail according to the university’s revised grading and drop policies. Brian described this process as an event that would take place perhaps once in a generation, which presented a unique opportunity to create a one-time form in order to fill an immediate need.

The S-U grade option form was placed behind a single sign-on for quick access and identification. This previously existed as a lengthy paper form, which was no longer feasible due to in-person restrictions on campus. The form is powered by prefill connectors and currently has over 23,000 associated records.

university courses covid form

What's Next?

The University of Florida maintains a variety of FormAssembly use cases year-round, including event registration forms, student admission forms, faculty feedback surveys, and more. In the near future, the university plans to use FormAssembly in their return-to-work and COVID testing projects.

Want to learn more about FormAssembly’s response for our company and community?

Our commitment to business continuity and to our customers remains stronger than ever. Check out this blog post for details. You can also learn more about our pro bono assistance to organizations aiding in the fight against COVID-19.

Apply for COVID-19 Assistance

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