Florida International University Research

Bottom-Line Value of Address Verification Solution

Few would debate the value of quality data to educational institutions. They revolve around accurate, verifiable information. That applies to students, faculty, staff and vendors. So when addresses don’t align with names, things don’t go as planned. Students can’t sign up for courses; the Registrar’s Office can’t send out confirmations (or even diplomas); Human Resources loses touch with employees; Admissions may be unable to send mailings to prospective students; and vendors don’t get paid on time — or at all. You get the picture.

Graduating students from the Masters in International Business at Florida International University (FIU) also recognized the issues associated with bad address data and decided to “address” data quality as part of their senior project, “Assessment of Data Quality: Florida International University.”

Florida International University: Successful and Growing

FIU boasts a diverse enrollment of more than 50,000 students. It is the nation’s fourth largest public university, number one on in awarding bachelor’s and master’s degrees to Hispanic students and number eight among international business programs. There are more than 200,000 FIU alumni, and more than 100,000 students will graduate in the next decade. There’s a lot of personal information associated with all these people, so it’s easy to understand why data quality and data management is so important to the University.

The Research Methodology

FIU Masters students conducted primary research, largely through a two-part survey that explored the costs associated with college-wide mailing and the impact of poor data quality related to missed opportunities for recruiting, events and other opportunity costs. The research covered University mail sent over the past five years.

The study was also designed as a “where-the-rubber-meets-the-road” evaluation of RunnerEDQ’s CLEAN_Address, the address verification solution that integrates with “PantherSoft,” the University’s branded PeopleSoft enterprise database applications. CLEAN_Address is invisible to users, working in the background to verify, correct and standardize addresses in real time and batch (multiple entry) processing. So anytime an address is entered, whether by staff or students, CLEAN_ Address cleanse the data before it can enter the system — and muddy the academic waters.

Measurable Results and Benefits of CLEAN_Address

The key departments surveyed included The Office of the Registrar, Admissions, Processing, Human Resources and Parking. While there is a paperless initiative underway — resulting in a 21% reduction in total mail sent — the following results were directly attributed to the use of CLEAN_Address :

Bottom Line:
  • Documented 30% annual savings attributed to address verification
  • Reduction of Undelivered As Addressed (UAA) mail, reduced from 8% to 3%, representing $0.5 million in potential lost revenue
  • Reduction of postage cost of$2.00 per student/year resulting in savings of $100,00 per year
  • Increased productivity and time savings
Intangibles: Data-Influenced Decision Making
  • Internal Reports for Students and Human Resources
  • Real Estate Recommendations for Student and faculty Housing
  • Carpooling initiatives
  • Political Forces, e.g., voter campaigns on land use issues

FIU | MIB students also identified areas for improvement. These included enhanced oversight of data quality and processes, better communications within the university and additional briefs with RunnerEDQ to make the University’s internal “clients” more aware of the full capabilities of CLEAN_Address and its data enhancement services.

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