6 Reasons Why Schools Are Going Paperless
Paperless systems offer several benefits to private schools. When you have goals you want to achieve, a paperless route might give your school the results you want. Before implementing this strategy, you can determine if going paperless is right for you by understanding why schools choose to reduce and eliminate their paper use.
1. Improve Organization
Many schools have complex filing systems to sort and organize their necessary forms and documents. From student applications to family financial information, administrative teams must collect and keep countless essential information on physical copies.
However, these systems can get complicated and confusing when you depend too much on paper documents. Administrators might misplace papers in the wrong folders or cabinets when filing them. When someone requests a document, it might take team members longer to locate it. Bringing on new administrators is great for operations, but a complex physical filing system might take them longer to adjust and start work.
A paperless solution means all documents are safe and stored in centralized, online databases where administrators and other staff can search for documents easily. This option helps prevent data losses and misplaced information, keeping records more secure for students and faculty. Online databases free up office spaces, so you can dedicate them to other essential operations and functions.
2. Streamline Collaboration Between Departments
When your various teams and teachers need to work together, requesting and receiving information can be time-consuming and inaccurate. You’ll have to wait for the other team member to find the document you need and send it along the proper channels. Communication errors or misunderstandings might result in sending the wrong copy, causing the process to repeat. Reoccurring problems and delays can boost frustrations and hurt faculty and interdepartmental relationships.
A paperless system eliminates the need to request and send papers between departments. Individuals can find exactly what they need in online resources, like databases, to locate and use documents and information more efficiently. They no longer have to wait for others to provide them with the data they need, cultivating better relationships and making it easier to work on projects with other departments and teams.
Especially when facing functions that require several teams involved, having easy access to various documents and data is essential. Processes like admissions and financial aid are important decisions for families, students, and administration, requiring several documents and factors. Paperless school systems can ensure access to student and family information to make timely and informed decisions.
3. Increase Information Reliability and Accuracy
Manual data entry and storage increases the risk of human error. Even the best administrators can make mistakes, from recording the wrong number to accidentally omitting data points. Families filling out forms might miss questions, or their handwriting can be difficult to read. Missing or incorrect metrics can impact decision-making or create challenges when schools need that data.
For example, if a staff member needs to contact families, they might dial the wrong home or have no way of contact if there are issues with stored information. Inaccurate information becomes unreliable, causing alternative processes that are redundant or time-consuming. Faculty might ask families to fill out the same information multiple times across forms to ensure data is accurate or have returning families turn in papers for unchanging information.
With a paperless system, you have all of the correct information readily available. Online form submissions allow data to upload automatically to student files and other online databases for easy access. Teachers, administrators, and other faculty members can ensure all information is up-to-date and accurate, increasing its reliability. People will act quicker on information knowing they can depend on what’s available.
4. Simplify Processes for Families
Paperless systems make it easy for families to interact with your school and submit documents. During the admissions and enrollment process, families and students must complete and turn in several papers. While a paperless system can reduce repetition and redundancy, it can also streamline application completion.
Families can work on applications from wherever life takes them and turn them in through their devices. They don’t have to worry about aligning their schedule with your school. Their application and enrollment process becomes more personalized and tailored to their needs with minimal effort from your administrative teams. Families can submit payments from their homes, ensuring you receive bills on time.
A paperless school billing system can benefit several types of families, expanding your private school’s audience. You can now better reach out-of-state families who can apply and submit admissions paperwork online. Families with busy work schedules can develop better relationships with your school by catering to their schedule while meeting your deadlines.
5. Reduce Costs
Paper costs can add up, creating larger expenses schools must budget for each school year. The average American school uses around 2,000 sheets of paper daily, spread out through teaching and administrative tasks. Under a 180-day academic year, that would equal around 360,000 sheets of paper each year per school.
Each piece of paper costs around five cents, and that number adds up quickly when schools paper at such a large scale. At this rate, your school will spend around $18,000 annually on paper alone. This calculation doesn’t include other costs, like printing and copying. If you order paper online, you might face shipping and delivery fees. The economic savings of going paperless can benefit schools with limited budgets.
Implementing a paperless school can help reduce and eliminate these costs for your institution, opening up vital room in your budget. With more money to spend, your school can allocate more funds toward your teachers, providing them with the essential supplies they need to give their students the best education. You can offer more events, hire people to perform at your school, or transport your students to fun field trips. You can save for bigger investments if your school needs repairs or new facilities.
6. Support the Environment
When your school wants to become more sustainable, a paperless system can support that goal. While paperless systems help the environment, they can also help your school align with the interests of your school community and potential families. Your school is a business, and your students and families are your customers. Your sustainability efforts can help attract and retain a school community with the same beliefs.
3 Environmental Benefits of Going Paperless
Reducing your paper use offers several sustainability and eco-friendly benefits. Knowing how paperless solutions can support the environment is essential when your school wants to implement greener initiatives.
1. Decrease School Waste
Schools use large quantities of paper each day throughout the school year. While some paper might pile up in administrative offices, others get discarded after use. Teachers across grades and disciplines use vast amounts of paper for classwork and worksheets, homework, tests, permission slips, progress reports, and report cards.
When students and families are done using these papers, they’ll likely discard them, increasing how much your school contributes to paper waste. At the end of the year, your administrators might go through filing cabinets and discard their accumulated forms and paperwork. Paper products comprise a large portion of landfills, accounting for around 26% of all landfill waste. Additionally, 33% of municipal waste is paper.
Paper in landfills can also harm the environment. Because paper comes from many organic materials, it can break down and decompose, making it more ideal for many industries than plastic. However, paper releases methane gas as it rots, which is 25 times more harmful to the environment than carbon dioxide.
Your school can reduce how much it contributes to waste collection and landfills by going paperless. This option reduces the amount of trash in landfills and creates more sustainable solutions to better support the planet.
2. Reduce Toxins Released Into the Environment
Paper production creates toxic byproducts. Manufacturing paper can release carbon dioxide, sulfur, and nitrogen into the atmosphere and negatively impact local ecosystems. These substances in air particles can contribute to greenhouse gases, water pollution, and acid rain.
When you want to reduce your carbon footprint and preserve the environment, using less paper can help decrease paper product demand and production. Your school can help contribute to sustainability efforts by switching to paperless and digital solutions, eliminating the source of waste and toxins at the source.
3. Save Trees
Many organizations prefer paper products over plastic and other materials because trees are a renewable resource. However, people often consume and demand paper products quicker than trees can regrow. Trees in warmer environments can reach maturity within 30 years, while others can take hundreds of years to grow. When consumers use so much paper, tree populations fail to meet the demand, resulting in deforestation and the destruction of ecosystems.
Trees play several essential roles for the planet. They use carbon dioxide and produce oxygen, creating a healthier environment for mammals that depend on oxygen to breathe. Trees can improve the air quality when other processes can put large amounts of carbon dioxide into the air and reduce the quality.
Additionally, trees play vital roles in many habitats and life cycles. Insects, birds, and animals depend on trees for food and shelter. Whether creatures eat bark and leaves or insects buried in the trunk, trees sustain life and support local food chains. The shade offered by trees protects local flora from the harsh sunlight and creates an environment where they can thrive.
When humans choose to preserve trees and use alternatives to paper like digital systems, ecosystems have a chance to thrive and support the world around us.
Additional Strategies to Go Paperless
Implementing the TADS paperless billing system and admissions management solution is a great way to reduce your school’s paper use and help the environment. However, there are many strategies you can adopt to go paperless, including:
- Assigning printer and copier allotments: Excessive printing and copying can increase your school’s paper use and impact on the environment. Giving each teacher and administrator a set amount of pages they can print each quarter, semester, or year can limit their use. They must determine what’s essential to print or copy for smarter resource use.
- Emphasizing online learning techniques: Recorded lectures and online worksheets allow students to complete work at home. You can encourage these methods to create a more sustainable learning environment and limit paper use.
- Digitizing communication efforts: Teachers and administrators often use notes, flyers, and paper slips to communicate various information with families. However, these efforts can increase your school’s waste production and be less effective. Emails, texts, online calendars, and other virtual communication methods store all conversations and data in one place so families always have access to information.
- Using online marketing techniques: Letters and flyers sent through the mail can be robust marketing materials, but they add to your paper waste. Families might be interested in your school but still discard physical promotional materials. Reduce waste by switching to digital marketing. Social media posts, email campaigns, and video content are great ways to engage with families without wasting paper resources. Additionally, families and students can return to content at any time, helping them keep track of essential information.
Your school has many options when strengthening its sustainability and decreasing paper waste. With a more comprehensive approach, you can see better results.
Go Paperless With TADS Software Solutions
TADS can help support your school’s goal to turn paperless and streamline several essential private K-12 processes. As a centralized system, all data is located in one place for easy access, increased visibility, and improved reliability. Your administrators can quickly assess candidates and make stronger decisions when they no longer have to navigate comprehensive filing systems to locate information.
Our comprehensive system offers several functions, from admissions and enrollment management to efficient tuition management. You can choose exactly what services you need, making the platform completely tailored to your needs. We’re experts in the education industry, creating software designed for schools like yours to support your daily operations.
Request a demo from TADS today to discover the benefits of paperless tuition management and admissions processes.