The DecidED API: Learn about the newest way to bring DecidED into your work

DecidED, the free college cost comparison tool developed by Moneythink, empowers students, advisors, and college access partners. We designed DecidED as a resource to translate complex financial aid award letters, provide guidance with comparing college costs and other fit factors, and much more. 

With our tool, students make sense of financial aid award results, and compare their college options based on personalized fit factors such as graduation rates and campus diversity. Advisors use DecidED in multiple ways to elevate their work; for instance, they can access the DecidED dashboard with real time student updates, students’ financial aid results and help students compare options for the best enrollment decision. Our partners gain crucial insights into student progress on the path to college, as well as financial aid data to inform their impactful programs and services. 

With DecidED, we are leveling the playing field for students, advisors and college access partners. That’s why we are excited to announce the crucial upgrade in our offerings. In addition to our free student and advisor-facing web tools, Moneythink is expanding DecidED’s reach and impact to strategic partners through our DecidED API.

What’s an API?

APIs, or Application Programming Interfaces, are a software middle ground that helps two different programs talk to each other. Think of APIs like a messenger: delivering your request to a provider and then bringing a response back. 

The DecidED API leverages our unique financial aid award letter scanning technology to ease the caseload burden of advising organizations. Our API provides more holistic, engaging student support in real time along with customized data, all integrated into any organization’s applications and services. 

The DecidED API has been an invaluable resource for us. Jin Choi, Director of Scholarships Programs at 10,000 Degrees

Who is the DecidED API for?

Two African American students with backpacks standing next to each other talking outside of a college campus building.

Our API is designed with two users in mind:

  1. College access organizations and scholarship providers that need to interpret and/or analyze a collection of student financial aid results, and
  2. Organizations that want to view, track and compare award results across schools, cities or states and against other key student profile identifiers.

Our partner organizations put an overwhelming amount of work into supporting as many students as possible. We created our API to automate the complex but easily repeatable task of financial aid award letter translation and unlock more high-touch support from student-facing organizations. Our API takes in complex award letters and sends data back in ways that can be used to benefit students and organizations the most.

How does the API work?

Two men. One is seated and wears white rimmed glasses. The other is standing next to him. He is wearing a blue shirt. Both are looking at a laptop.

Understanding the actual costs of attendance for each institution no longer requires an advisor to review and analyze every individual letter. The DecidED API seamlessly translates award information so an organization’s staff can avoid manually inputting data and performing other time-consuming tasks. Our API takes financial aid award letters and other data and quickly extracts important information that organizations need to do their work. Then, our API relays that data into an organization’s existing programs and systems.

Our API can also:

  • Receive an award letter and respond with instantaneous clean and structured data
  • Easily share data with students and/or integrate data into proprietary applications and services
  • Provide more holistic, engaging student support in real time with customized data at hand
  • Clarify college finances by receiving personalized cost estimates before students enroll in a school to help inform their decisions. 

For more information on how we’ve architected the DecidED API backend, read our article on helping students find affordable colleges on the AWS Public Sector blog.

The DecidED API in Action

A group of people talking around a table, with a woman with short curly hair and black glasses highlighted on the righthand side. She faces the camera with arms crossed and smiles.

We’ve already piloted our API with scholarship providers and college access organizations looking to save time on administrative tasks so they can better support students.

Jin Choi, the Director of Scholarships Programs at 10,000 Degrees says, “The DecidED API has been an invaluable resource for us in the collection and analysis of over 1,700 financial aid award letters. The API took what used to be a very manual process and changed it into an automated system that has saved us hundreds of hours.”

With our API, 10,000 Degrees saved an estimated 3.5 minutes per award letter. This meant their advisors saved over 100 hours of manual input time, freeing up precious hours to focus on their students. 61% of award letters were translated in less than half an hour. These translated results allowed 10,000 Degrees to better hone in financial aid gaps of direct college costs and scholarships, create lists of students to follow up with on the financial aid process, and review data to identify different types of award letters, all within one tool.

Organizations save time on administrative tasks, like manually reviewing financial aid award data. They can make data-driven decisions and most importantly, can scale impact across current programs and systems. 

How can you bring the DecidED API to your organization? 

Connect with us to learn how the DecidED API could help your organization. Are you interested in trying our API for yourself? Send us an inquiry at info@moneythink.org and we’ll get back to you within two business days. 

And if you haven’t already done so, be sure to sign up for a free DecidED account today.