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July 17th Baltimore, MD
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What is edfintech?

#edfintech is the intersection of education, finance, and technology. This blog explains who Allovue is, what we do and how k-12 schools can connect spending to student outcomes.

At the intersection of industries that love hashtags, Allovue didn’t quite fit. We weren’t a typical #edtech company, which people rightfully associate with teaching and learning tools. #Fintech wasn’t right – education was at the crux of our mission. Still, #edfinance missed the point.

These hashtag siloes are a pretty good microcosm of reality: run-of-the-mill financial technology products lack the nuance to deliver smart education finance solutions; education finance academia and consulting accommodate the requisite complexity, but don’t scale. Education technology products offer data solutions for attendance, rosters, evaluation data, and myriad other teaching and learning data – but all divorced from financial or operational data that could help determine cost-effectiveness of products, services, and other instructional programs.

Allovue was founded by teachers and technologists, finance and data specialists. We’re building edfintech solutions because we believe that effective resource allocation is directly correlated with student success. We want to empower education leaders to understand budgets and spending and connect every dollar to students. At the intersection of education, finance, and technology, the whole is truly greater than the sum of its parts.

Introducing edfintech

Allovue creates edfintech solutions, because educators deserve the best tools for the complex calculus of optimizing limited resources. Edfintech connects education, finance, and technology to meet the needs of education decision-makers.

Consciously or not, money is behind every decision, every goal, and every resource in K-12 schools: average number of students per classroom, school-building climate-control, athletic programs, snow removal, arts programs, Internet and other utilities, after-school tutoring, STEM resources, libraries, hardware, software, 3D printers, professional development, teacher recruitment, textbooks, workbooks, instructional support, food services, mental health services, special education teachers, recess, course offerings- I could go on.

At some point, somewhere in the district, someone allocated dollars to external product and service providers or internal human capital structures to provide those resources - or maybe they chose not to. What data and processes were involved in that decision? Was it an active decision or a passive one? Who makes resource decisions and how close are they to the consumers of those resources? Where does the money go? Does spending align to teaching and learning goals? Answering this question shouldn’t require a Sisyphean effort.

The 3As of edfintech

At Allovue, we believe in empowering educators. Transparency unlocks decision-making talent because it gives administrators the information they need to make effective decisions. We equip education leaders to make better resource allocation decisions with the 3As: Access, Analysis, and Action.

Access

School and district finance data should always be quick and easy to access. Between federal, state, and local fund-compliance regulations, district ledgers can quickly tally up to tens or hundreds of thousands of unique accounts – let alone individual transactions. This quickly becomes unmanageable to track manually. Advanced search mechanisms in Balance help administrators quickly filter and sort for the accounts they are managing.

Analysis

Balancing the budget is only half the battle of education finance: decreasing funds and rising costs are pressuring schools to do more with less. Cost-effectiveness matters. Equitable distribution of funding matters. A return on spending matters. Education finance data cannot be analyzed in a vacuum: budgetary and spending data should be analyzed alongside enrollment, demographic, and achievement data to better understand how resources are allocated and which resources are most effective.

Action

Education leaders must make data-driven decisions about spending to increase operational efficiency and drive student success. In order to implement best practices in resource allocation, education leaders must understand and analyze finance data in the context of the district’s student enrollment, pattern of achievement, and goals for the future.

The VUE in Allovue

The root of the name Allovue comes from allocation and –vue is a homophone for view. VUE is also an acronym for visual user experience. From day one, our founders believed in the importance of design and user experience in edfintech. Access to the data alone was insufficient. It also had to be easy to understand and navigate – friendly, even. (Allo also means hello – friendly education finance data says, “Hi!”)

The power of data technology is nothing without an intuitive user interface. For this reason, we believe that the combination of technology and design is the key for unlocking the power of education finance data. Publicly available education finance data is aggregated beyond usefulness, and manual analysis of individual district data is unnecessarily tedious. Modern database technology and design give us an unprecedented opportunity to track, analyze, and act on the insights of education spending across the country, or even all around the globe.

The bottom line

The United States spends over $700 billion annually on K-12 public education, and our achievement data suggests that we do not have a $600 billion education system to show for it. The vast majority of that $600 billion is essentially a black box in terms of analyzing where U.S. education dollars are going. With edfintech, we can shine a light on the contents of that box in a thoughtful, strategic way. We can uncover trends and truths about where, how, and why education dollars have a meaningful impact for kids.

We hope you’ll join us in our mission to make student success the bottom line.