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In October 2018, we announced the Microsoft Higher Education Accelerator, enabling ISVs and other solution providers to quickly build industry vertical solutions tailored for higher education. Since then, we have updated the accelerator with new scenarios to help institutions transform how they engage with students and their constituents and improve student outcomes.

Our latest version, now generally available, extends the Common Data Model scenarios to include new entities, sample apps, and analytics for business partner management and student accomplishments. The accelerator also includes entities around internships, scholarships, grants, and more.

About the industry accelerator

One of five industry accelerators currently available, the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Higher Education Accelerator provides a new higher education data model and sample apps allowing you to easily build applications, workflows, and processes and go to market quickly with solutions. The Higher Education Accelerator also allows you to implement the higher education data model in Dynamics 365, Power Platform, and in Azure Data Lake Storage.

It can assist with day-to-day operations or act as a stand-alone data model for developers. The model provides a shared and consistent metadata definition for common higher education entities, allowing customers and partners to build on the same data model. This common schema allows for new interoperability and improved processes and insights.

The accelerator contains installable solutions that include standard entity attribute extensions, new higher education entities, pre-built dashboards, sample data, sample apps, plus other tools to help customers and partners build and deploy new solutions. What’s even better? The Higher Education Accelerator is open source and available on GitHub.

What’s new?

  • Student portal: The student portal is a Power Apps portal that we created to preview what a student can see and do within the portal. Students can view courses, events, and view a history of courses and applications. They can also view available grants and scholarship opportunities and submit their own applications. Use the sign-in functionality to sign into the portal and try out additional features like notifications, internships, scholarships, and grants students have applied for. Use these credentials to test the portal: Username – Antonchew, Password – Pass@word1.

Student Portal highlighting resources such as courses, lectures, events, internships and scholarships.

  • Business partner dashboards: A business partner can work with a university to plan events, hackathons, internships, scholarships, and grants for students. With the native dashboard and Power BI dashboards, business partners gain insights on student interest in opportunities and applications for grants and scholarships.

Business partner dashboard providing insights into all business partners and their application status.

  • Grants phone app: By using a phone app, faculty members can easily view grants and submitted applications, as well as view the students who have submitted applications and the status of those applications.

Grants phone app displaying available grants to apply for.

  • Internships, grants, and scholarships: All personas including students, business partners, and faculty members have access to rich reporting regarding students applying for internships, grants, and scholarships.

Internship application tracker within Power Apps.

These updates are a step in an ongoing commitment to refresh the data set with the most relevant schema to build transformative solutions for higher education institutions. Our partner community plays a big part in helping to evolve and refine the Higher Education Accelerator. Case in point, KPMG Australia shared insights based on the development of Higher Education solutions on the Microsoft Dynamics 365 CE platform that support the student journey.

 “When building our solution, we reviewed Microsoft’s existing industry accelerators and data models and saw immediate value. We were able to leverage their assets into our broader higher education data model including their Not-For-Profit accelerator that supports our fundraising and donation management capabilities…tweaked for the Education sector. By leveraging Microsoft’s accelerators, we’re able to capitalize on the underpinning Common Data Model, which helps future proof our solution and support our joint customers by incorporating continuous updates Microsoft release on their Dynamics 365 platform and industry accelerators. We’re also able to benefit from the Open Data Initiative being undertaken with Adobe and SAP to improve Marketing Automation and Finance integration. The insights and lessons learnt from our University engagements are also helping to refine and evolve Microsoft’s accelerators.” -Blake Burningham, KPMG Higher Education Product Specialist

Get started

We encourage you to register and test drive the Higher Education Accelerator. You can access GitHub to try out the solution, data samples, Power BI examples, and more.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team. If you’re a partner working in the higher education space and want to use the accelerator and help shape the next version of it, please reach out to us.

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We're always looking for feedback and would like to hear from you. Please head to the Dynamics 365 Community to start a discussion, ask questions, and tell us what you think!

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