The benefits of API in higher education

Using application programming interfaces for managing information systems saves time, money, and aids user experience, says WHISHWORKS’ Ruchi Nandita

In the past decade, higher education institutions have invested heavily in modern information systems to provide new and innovative digital experiences for their students, lecturers, administrators, and other stakeholders.

But, as the number of technologies deployed increases, IT teams are working tirelessly to integrate and manage the growing number of systems and applications, whether legacy or modern, on the premises or in the cloud. To add to this complexity, many colleges and universities have expanded their footprint both geographically and digitally, providing distance learning and online courses either through digital platforms and/or affiliates and representation offices.

All this has left many institutions with a maze of direct or point-to-point integrations, hindering efficiency and effectiveness – essential components of quality education.

An API approach to end-to-end integration

Bringing together the various systems HE institutions use to manage a multiplicity of areas – programmes, staff, facilities, and payment processes – into one comprehensive, integrated system will not only save time and money, it will also greatly improve users’ experience.

APIs (application programming interfaces) provide a way to connect computer software components. They enable IT teams to open their backend data and functionality from inside various departmental silos and legacy systems, for reuse in defining experiences and developing new application services.

With an API approach to integration, IT teams will eliminate many existing and future bottlenecks, and will become more efficient by removing technical debt and enabling IT departments to self-serve.

For colleges and universities, implementing API-led integration means:

 – Improved ROI from seamlessly connecting new applications to the institution’s existing systems, creating a unified experience for users

 – 360° visibility of each student across academic, health, housing and accounting systems

 – Effective management by easily designing an event-based flow of information across the entire student lifecycle

 – Apply one username and password for access across a range of systems and applications

Final lesson

API-led integration platforms can help streamline operations, provide a better educational experience, and improve fundraising and enrolment. At the same time, they can significantly lower the cost and effort spent in manually entering information, repeating tasks, or compiling data. In the HE, sector where quality and experience are valued as top selection criteria, the efficiencies gained from moving to a fully-integrated environment will have direct impact in improving all the important metrics.

To find out more about how API-led connectivity can help you create a fully integrated environment, visit the website at

 Ruchi Nandita is a consultant at WHISHWORKS