Press release

Ellucian Announces 2020 Impact Award Winners

Sponsored by Businesswire

Ellucian, the world’s leading provider of software and services built to power higher education, today announced the winners of the 2020 Ellucian Impact Awards. The annual awards recognize higher education institutions that best harness the power of technology to solve challenges, operate more efficiently and enhance the student experience.

The winners—Alamo Colleges District, University of The Bahamas, Bryant University, Western Governors University, Northeast Mississippi Community College and University of Greenwich—were recognized today via video announcement during Ellucian Live Online 2020. Each institution will receive a $25,000 grant.

“Higher education leaders have responded to the unprecedented challenges of 2020 with grit, determination and resourcefulness. The winners of our Impact Awards are excellent examples of how institutions are innovating from within to support their students, faculty, staff and local communities,” said Laura Ipsen, President and CEO, Ellucian. “We congratulate these customers on their success and are honored to support them as they harness the power of technology to reimagine the future of higher education.”

More information about the 2020 Ellucian Impact Award winners is below.

Student Experience Category

Alamo Colleges DistrictSan Antonio, Texas

Alamo Colleges District (ACD) is comprised of Northeast Lakeview College, Northwest Vista College, Palo Alto College, San Antonio College and St. Philip’s College. Most of the district’s 60,000-plus students are Latino (62%) or African American (8%). All colleges are designated Hispanic-Servicing Institutions; St. Philip’s College is the only Historically Black College and University and Hispanic Serving Institution in the United States.

Through a number of creative programs pairing academic advising and case management with Ellucian’s Banner and Degree Works solutions, ACD was able to build specific, actionable milestones for their students. As a result, the district achieved its goals of increasing student completion for both its overall and most vulnerable populations. Highlights include:

  • 244% increase in the degrees and certificates conferred from 2006 to 2018
  • 50% increase in overall graduation rate from 2014 to 2017
  • 61.5% increase in Hispanic graduation rates from 2015 to 2018
  • 50% increase in African American graduation rates from 2015 to 2018
  • 57% increase of Pell recipient graduation rates from 2015 to 2018
  • 29% increase of veteran graduation rates from 2015 to 2018

University of The Bahamas Nassau, Bahamas

The University of The Bahamas transformed the student experience by changing how student data is managed and addressed disaster recovery concerns by moving to the cloud.

The university established online application and class registration, mobile platform integration, integration with LMS solutions and enhanced reporting and analytics. Improvements were made to registration times, real-time access to grades and academic history, better reporting and metrics, and more efficient billing and payment processes.

In addition, rather than maintaining a second site in case of an outage, the university reduced costs for disaster recovery using cloud-based Ellucian Banner. Last year, Hurricane Dorian caused catastrophic damage to the island and destroyed the main Grand Bahama campus. Despite the devastation, the university’s student information system continued uninterrupted. The university resumed classes at alternative sites in Freeport, Grand Bahama one month after the storm and students who were scheduled to graduate in May 2020 were able to do so.

Innovation Category

Bryant UniversitySmithfield, RI

Bryant University moved its operations management to the cloud in 2019 and has already seen increased efficiencies, better security, and an improved experience for students, faculty and staff. Despite the global COVID-19 pandemic, the university had its most successful registration in Spring 2020.

Moving to cloud-based Ellucian Banner freed up resources allowing the university to focus on its institutional priorities. An enhanced ticketing and project management system led to twice as many completed requests which have improved existing software and business processes—ranging from business affairs to university advancement. In addition, Bryant launched multiple self-service applications, including an online graduation certification process and an online system for students to apply for the CARES Act: Higher Education Relief Fund.

In preparation for delivering on-campus instruction in Fall 2020, the university upgraded its classroom technology and systems, including multiple audio, visual, and content capture systems. Equipping 75 classrooms enables the university to observe density restrictions while providing in-person instruction and an enhanced online learning experience.

Western Governors UniversitySalt Lake City, UT

Western Governors University’s Responsible Borrowing Initiative, part of a three-pronged approach to college affordability, encourages smarter borrowing decisions to reduce student loan debt. Despite national trends of growing student loan debt, WGU’s already-low levels of borrowing and default have fallen even further in the seven years since the program launched.

Using data available in Ellucian Banner, the Responsible Borrowing Initiative helps students understand how much they should borrow and various repayment options. The centerpiece of the initiative is the Student Loan Scenario calculator that students complete as part of their financial aid process. A custom-built API connects Banner to the SLS calculator, so students can receive information in real time and decide about their future borrowing needs. The interactive calculator allows them to adjust their funding level and degree progress speed to visualize how they can directly impact their estimated loan repayment after graduation.

WGU’s average undergraduate student loan debt has fallen 32%. During that same period, the three-year cohort loan default rate (the percentage of a school’s borrowers who start repaying loans during a federal fiscal year and default prior to the end of the next one to two fiscal years) dropped from 8% (compared with 13.4% nationally) to 4.2% (compared with 10.1% nationally). Populations that have traditionally been most negatively affected by the debt crisis have benefited particularly well under the Responsible Borrowing Initiative.

Digital Transformation Category

Northeast Mississippi Community CollegeBooneville, MS

Northeast Mississippi Community College successfully implemented technology to lower textbook costs, engage students, improve communication, and better prepare students for the workforce.

Northeast’s digital transformation began in the classroom, with a push for faculty to effectively integrate technology into their class experience. A campus-wide iPad 1:1 initiative increased the use of technology while reducing average textbook costs by 50% within two years. In addition, optimized student services programs and integrated dashboards resulted in across-the-board improvements in grades, attendance, and credits earned.

Northeast implemented the latest version of Ellucian Banner, along with Ellucian Degree Works, to help students view their progress toward graduation in real-time and standardize student communication in a way that provided relevant answers to students’ most-pressing questions in a consistent and easy-to-understand way.

University of GreenwichLondon and Kent, United Kingdom

University of Greenwich leveraged Ellucian Banner to execute a digital strategy focused on changing student lives through teaching and learning, inspiring research and enterprise, supporting and developing staff, and enhancing the digital environment.

Greenwich’s “One University” initiative aims to develop organizational models, solutions, processes and a culture that evolves the institution into a dynamic, agile and efficient organization that operates as one. Many disparate and locally managed systems that do the same thing in different ways have been consolidated into a common platform; managed centrally using simplified and consistent processes that sit on integrated, secure, and modern technology.

Driven by principles within its digital strategy, the university is reducing internal maintenance burdens in order to free up resources for value-added activity. The transition from a bespoke assessment system to Ellucian Banner’s grade book tool is improving the student and faculty experience around assessment and feedback. Similarly, Banner Page Builder enables Greenwich to develop supported, secure and effective applications aligned to Banner that can be applied to a number of specific requirements.

About Ellucian

Ellucian is the market leader charting the digital future of higher education with a portfolio of cloud-ready technology solutions and services. From student recruitment to workforce analytics; from fundraising opportunities to alumni engagement; Ellucian’s comprehensive suite of data-rich tools gives colleges and universities the information they need to lead with confidence.

Working with a community of more than 2,700 customers in over 50 countries, Ellucian keeps innovating as higher education keeps evolving. Drawing on its comprehensive higher education business acumen and suite of services, Ellucian guides its customers through manageable, sustainable digital transformation—so that every type of institution and student can thrive in today’s fast-changing landscape. To find out what’s next in higher education solutions and services, visit Ellucian at