How do you avoid a ‘messy’ situation? Implement procedures to help avoid them in the first place. Make student file maintenance part of your everyday operations. Trust us – when your next site visit or audit comes up, you will be very glad you did!
Students sign enrollment documents, the documents go in a file, and the file goes into a drawer. Nothing could be simpler, right? But maybe the student forgets to bring in required supporting documentation, like proof of HS graduation, and promises to bring it later. Maybe during the enrollment appointment, the student or school representative misses a required signature. Or maybe a page gets left on a copier, and not realizing its importance, someone shreds it. These are just things that can happen–and have happened– during enrollment!
What about while the student is in training? Or when a student completes? Are the necessary documents—like progress and attendance reports–consistently being added to student files?
It is easy to see how something that seems so straightforward can get out of hand quickly, leaving you with incomplete, inconsistent, unorganized files. Presenting disorganized files to your state regulator or to your accrediting body can become a big problem. It can even jeopardize your existing approval(s).
Here are a couple tips to help:
- First, use a Student File Checklist. As the name suggests, the Student File Checklist shows all of the documents that need to be in a student’s file. Items should be checked off and placed into the file in the order of the list, making it easy to see what is there and, more importantly, what is not there.
- Second, conduct a monthly file audit. Check all new student files and 10-15 randomly selected existing student files for accuracy and organization. Is everything signed, dated, and initialed? Are all of the supporting documents included? Is everything indicated on the checklist actually in the file? If not, you can fix things right away and your regulator never need know that there was an error in the first place!
Want to see a Student File Checklist and File Audit Procedure? Contact Cyanna Education Services at firstname.lastname@example.org for a sample document.