The challenges faced by academic institutions during the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak unwittingly led to the widespread adoption of new technologies to support online learning. According to the 2021 survey conducted by Quality Matters and Eduventures™ Research, at least 80% of the responding colleges and universities have partially incorporated digital learning tools, such as learning management systems and videoconferencing, in 2021.
But as the world navigates the post-pandemic era, academic institutions have also started to fully embrace the new age of education by incorporating advanced technologies to fully digitize school operations. One of the software solutions that plays a crucial role in a school’s transition to modern operations is the student information system or SIS.
In this article, we will introduce you to the best student information systems for K-12 and higher education institutions by laying down their value propositions, core features, and cost.
Technology has played a crucial role in the business continuity of academic institutions, especially during the pandemic. But while EdTech (Educational Technology) paves the best way for schools to survive and thrive amid a global crisis, not all institutions have the means. According to a report by Educause, 82% of colleges and universities had to cut their I.T. budgets in 2020. Meanwhile, 43% of survey respondents revealed that they were anticipating more budget cuts in the coming years, with the result of making difficult decisions on which technology should be prioritized first.
Part of the budget cut is either scaling down the services of technologies that are already in place or getting rid of the technology completely. Educause’s survey reveals that 35% of respondents would reduce their budget on maintenance and renewal. On the other hand, 54% of respondents would increase their budget on online learning systems. Meanwhile, the student information system has the highest percentage of respondents (71%) who claim that their institutions’ budget for SIS would remain unchanged, compared to 14% who responded that their schools planned to reduce their SIS budget.
The sheer number of academic institutions that wanted to keep their SIS budget untouched in the midst of budget cuts only indicates how crucial this technology is. And according to Camu’s post-pandemic global overview, North America had the highest adoption rate of SIS across the globe. Moreover, technology is popular among small and medium-sized academic institutions or those that have 10,000 or less student population.
While it is already established that SIS is a must-have technology, choosing the right product is definitely a challenge with the hundreds of SIS platforms available in today’s market. For starters, here are some of the things to look for in SIS before making the decision to purchase one:
To help you narrow down your choices, we will share with you the 20 best student information systems in the market that tick all of the above and more.
The adoption of student information systems at the height of the pandemic not only afforded administrators, teachers, and staff more convenience in managing school operations but it has also provided them with tools to set their students up for success.
Source: EDUCAUSE, 2020
In an era when student learning, activities, and engagement mainly take place online, it makes sense to have a cutting-edge system in place to centralize, organize, and protect student data. A student information system’s capability to integrate with other EdTech streamlines administrative processes, helping improve productivity. Teachers have more time to actually teach with the help of powerful automations that take care of time-consuming tasks, such as grading and student progress reports. Moreover, it encourages parents or guardians to be more involved in the student’s academic journey and success.
Student information systems share the pain points of other software solutions that cater to the academic sector. Despite the global adoption of new technologies in the education industry during and after the pandemic, there still exist barriers that hold a significant number of institutions back from utilizing modern software systems.
The biggest challenge to EdTech adoption is that not everyone understands the opportunities that new EdTech like student information systems can offer academic institutions. Also, as mentioned earlier, limited financial resources is another major issue that hinders the adoption of new technologies. Another challenge is closing the skill gaps, which can be a long process, especially for institutions that are still implementing traditional practices. Moreover, there are schools in various parts of the globe that still do not have access to the Internet, and hardware that can make the implementation of EdTech possible.
Source: Statista, 2022
Fortunately, tech companies and developers are aware of these points as proven by the wide-range of EdTech that are cost-effective and do not require a steep learning curve. In the list of the best student information systems below, we will walk you through some of the ideal options for managing student information and more.
QuickSchools is a cloud-based school management system known for its flexibility and usability. It offers an intuitive platform that fits different types of academic systems such as K-12 schools, online language schools, and institutions that offer adult education programs. Its comprehensive student information system gives academic institutions freedom to customize the sets of features according to their needs.
Another area where QuickSchools stands out is its App Developer Console. This serves as a collaborative platform where teachers work together to develop new applications. Aside from being user-friendly, QuickSchools also takes pride in its accessibility as its users can access the platform via web or its mobile application that supports iOS and Android devices.
QuickSchools offers four types of monthly subscription plans and the cost of each vary depending on the number of students.
PowerSchool SIS is an award-winning student information system that offers a unified and secure platform for school districts and K-12 schools. It provides all the necessary tools that make it easier for administrators to create a district setup for the academic institutions within their jurisdiction.
With the help of PowerSchool SIS, district administrators can push a uniform calendar setup, reporting terms, etc., across the school district, which improves data accessibility and monitoring the schools’ maintenance needs. This, however, does not restrict schools from having their own unique SIS configurations, especially when it comes to setting up their grading, scheduling, attendance, and other processes.
PowerSchool SIS also provides a portal through PowerSchool Mobile App where attendance and academic performance of students are easily accessible to both students and parents. This portal also allows family members to participate in choosing class schedules for the following school year. Furthermore, the portal also serves as the most efficient communication platform for teachers, school administrators, and the students and their family members.
In terms of integration, PowerSchool SIS seamlessly works with other PowerSchool solutions, such as its K-12 LMS, K-12 student data analytics platform, and the school administration software designed for K-12 finance and HR.
PowerSchool SIS does not have fixed subscription plans and its pricing is only available upon request.
Coming in at third place is Wisenet, a student management system for higher education providers and corporate training centers. This platform offers tools that help streamline student management throughout the entire learning cycle. It comes with a scheduling wizard that simplifies the processes of organizing student schedules upon enrollment.
Wisenet offers its Learner App where students can add their personal information, view their timetables, and access their lessons via integrated eLearning or CMS platforms like Teamie or Moodle. The Learner App allows for document sharing, which enables students to view and download course materials and personal records, among others. Moreover, the platform supports payment processing via Paypal, check, etc., for paid courses. The Learner App also integrates with Xero and other third-party accounting platforms, which allows students to access their invoices and payment history.
For academic institutions and training organizations that already have an existing education management system, Wisenet can serve as an extension to gain access to more development resources via Wisenet API.
Wisenet offers three types of pricing plans that come with fixed sets of features and tools.
In case what you are looking for is not offered in the regular subscription plans, you can also request for a custom package priced by quote.
Teachmint is an intuitive LMS solution ideal for academic institutions that offer online and offline classes. This cloud-based platform enables teachers to share study materials and record both online and offline classes that students can use for group or personalized learning. Students and teachers can also communicate using the Teachmint’s messaging tool, which reduces the hassle of using third-party communication apps during and even after lectures. Evaluating students and keeping track of their progress are also automated, which help teachers focus more on their students.
Beyond its learning management tools, Teachmint offers end-to-end school management capabilities. These include admissions and fee management, attendance management, ID and report card generation, lesson planning, and more.
Teachmint’s pricing plan is only available upon request.
Gradelink is a comprehensive SIS with an easy to navigate interface. It offers fully integrated tools that take care of admin work on behalf of teachers, so they can focus more on their lessons and students. Among these time-consuming tasks are creating a family directory, staff roster, class attendance reports, and even a customizable IEP tracking reports for special needs students. As for parents and students, they can access relevant information and updates through the mobile app.
This cloud-based SIS platform is also equipped with discipline and counseling capabilities, which help administrators and teachers keep track of incidents, behavioral concerns, as well as conduct that deserve an award or praise. Gradelink also assists schools in keeping up-to-date medical records of their students, such as their medical history, immunizations, allergies, medications, insurance, and more.
In terms of connecting Gradelink to existing software systems, Gradelink integrates seamlessly with Google Classroom, ClassLink, Apple School Manager, and FACTS Tuition Management, among others.
Gradelink’s pricing is only available upon request.
Skyward Student Management Suite provides an end-to-end school management and SIS platform to K-12 schools. For school administrators, Skyward offers curriculum management tools that help you map academic standards based on what is being adopted across the school district. This helps identify and assign prerequisites and courses and link them to graduation plans and requirements. Moreover, parents and students can request for specific courses and create their own schedule right from the mobile application.
Enrollment is also made easier for both schools and parents. You can add customizable forms and create your own enrollment workflows that parents can easily follow. Tuition and other fees, including textbooks and lunch, are all managed by the system and accessible to parents. Grades and transcripts are also updated in real time along with notes that further explain the academic progress of each student.
As for teachers, they have their own mobile application where they can monitor and manage class attendance, student behavior, grades, and more.
Skyward Student Management Suite does not offer standard subscription plans but pricing is available upon request.
Focus SIS is designed to accommodate academic institutions and teachers that provide special education to students with disabilities through its special ed, 504, RTI, and student services. It comes with tools that enable schools to create complaint forms that assess the needs of students. Focus SIS also fully integrates the entire special education process such as enrollment, discipline, and progress monitoring, among others.
The system also keeps track of Medicaid services, manages clinic visits and health forms, as well as keeps track of medications and immunizations. Moreover, Focus SIS helps schools efficiently implement safety COVID-19 protocols with its safety features, such as contact tracing using the Focus seating chart and daily health screening via the mobile app. Focus also has a positive behavior reward feature, which encourages students to wear their mask to earn a badge.
Focus SIS’ subscription plan is offered by quote.
Formerly known as Boardingware, Orah offers an intuitive platform designed to accurately track and manage student attendance, school involvement, and whereabouts. Right from the mobile app, teachers can confirm if their students are inside the school premises. This can be done manually by communicating with other members of the school staff. The system can also automatically sweep all areas of the school where students can sign in, such as Orah’s Checkpoint or iPad kiosks.
Orah also streamlines the process of student leave requests. The entire process is also automated, which removes the burden of calling parents, school administrators, and other school staff involved in approving the request. This feature also comes with fraud detection, which sends an alert if there is any indication that a student is attempting to approve their leave request.
When it comes to improving student engagement, Orah offers tools that assist the school in planning and organizing student activities. Furthermore, students and their parents and guardians can view and sign up for these activities from their mobile app or the website.
In terms of integrations, Orah connects with other SIS, such as Veracross, Engage, Senior Systems, and PowerSchool. And if the software system is not in the list of compatible solutions, Orah’s open API can make integration possible.
Ohra’ pricing varies depending on the specialized product you are interested in, the region you come from, and the add-on features you want to include in your subscription plan. To get a quote, you have to contact the sales department.
iGradePlus offers two products—the Free Online Gradebook designed for individual teachers and the Enterprise SMS, which is a subscription-based, comprehensive school management system.
The Free Online Gradebook is a full-featured and highly customizable platform for individual teachers to manage the students in their roster. Aside from the grade, student, and class management features, this product also provides attendance and behavior tracking, parents and student accounts and communication tools, custom report generation and distribution, extensive printing and export options, and unlimited data.
Enterprise SMS, on the other hand, takes the school management system to a larger scale with its district management feature. It also comes with essential SMS features, such as teacher and school administrator accounts, students and parents web portals, class management, grade management, attendance and behavior monitoring, communication tools, and reporting capabilities.
The Online Gradebook for individual teachers is completely free. As for the Enterprise SMS, you may sign up for a 14-day free trial and get a quote for the annual subscription.
Vidyalaya offers a cost-effective school management solution that allows schools to seamlessly manage multiple campuses. This platform has a fully integrated cloud-based school ERP that streamlines daily administrative processes from student attendance, grades, exams and results, canteen operations, and more.
Vidyalaya’s tools are offered in separate modules, which gives schools the opportunity to customize their school management system. Its core modules include student management, admission management, student assessment, attendance management, and fees management, among others. Its student assessment modules compare well with the best assessment software solutions in the market. Other modules are used in managing resources, such as student hostel, transportation, library, and inventory, communication, and data. As for integrations, Vidyalaya connects with Moodle and Whatsapp for education. It also provides native integrations, including its own SMS, biometric, and online payment gateway platform.
Vidyalaya’s pricing plan is by quote and is only available upon request.
Salesforce.org Education Cloud offers separate solutions for higher education and K-12 schools. The K-12 CRM platform provides schools with a K-12 Architecture Kit. This kit comes with innovative tools that streamline admission and enrollment, as well as communication and family engagement. The kit is also designed to nurture student success by offering the school a unified view of their affiliations, characteristics, courses, academic programs, and more. Furthermore, Salesforce’s CRM for K-12 is equipped with fundraising and grant management features, which help schools foster good relationships with donors and keep track of donations.
The CRM for higher education, on the other hand, has features that support marketing and communications. It also provides a digital campus for colleges and universities with a hybrid learning environment. Admissions and enrollment processes are also simplified through the Admissions Connect feature that comes equipped with an application reader, document management, application form builder, and workflow automation capabilities. And if the K-12 solution has an architecture kit, the CRM for higher ed has Education Data Architecture (EDA), which helps academic institutions transition and fully utilize Salesforce.org Education Cloud.
As for available integrations, Salesforce.org Education Cloud seamlessly integrates with Slack, MuleSoft, and other Salesforce applications.
Both cloud CRM solutions for K-12 and higher ed offer a 30-day free trial and you have to contact sales to get a custom quote.
Founded by educators, SchoolMint Enroll is centered on helping K-12 schools reach their enrollment goals and improve their retention rates. One of the services SchoolMint Enroll offers is strategic marketing, which comes with marketing audit tools that examine the school’s website, promotional messaging, and online presence in order to formulate effective strategies for improvement. This service also provides consultants that go undercover to test the enrollment process of the school or the district and identify the gaps in the process.
SchoolMint Enroll also offers social media advertising services, reputation management, and SEO and local SEO analysis, and optimization. Furthermore, the enrollment and all information relevant to this process are housed in a microsite that is not only accessible to parents and students but also easy to navigate.
To further enhance the SchoolMint platform, schools can integrate it with other SchoolMint solutions, such as SchoolMint Insights, SchoolMint Connect, SchoolMint Engage, and more.
SchoolMint Enroll’s pricing is only available upon request.
Academic institutions can benefit from the two solutions offered by Sycamore Education. The first is Sycamore School, an all-in-one online school management platform. This robust platform has more than 300 features, including administrative management, classroom management, school communications, admissions and enrollment, and master scheduler. Sycamore School is also fully integrated with Google Workspace for Education. Furthermore, schools can extend the platform’s functionality through third-party applications, such as Clever, MailChimp, Smart Tuition, and Twilio, among others.
Sycamore Campus is the other online solution and this one caters to non-traditional academic institutions, such as trade schools, small private colleges, and schools that offer specialty certifications and credentials programs. It comes with flexible tools that simplify online recruitment and admissions, course management, and keeping track of student information, transcripts, and student timecards. Sycamore Campus also provides communication tools, student portal, and basic accounts receivables currently integrated with PayPal for making online payments.
The pricing plans for Sycamore School and Sycamore Campus are offered by quote.
Aeries SIS is a comprehensive student information system that can be hosted on cloud or on-premise. This platform is equipped with robust tools for secure hosting of student data while keeping it accessible to school administrators, teachers, as well as students and their parents or guardians. Student data Aeries SIS houses include emergency contacts, siblings, medical records, counseling, discipline, intervention tracking, special education records, and other custom supplemental data.
Beyond student data hosting, Aeries SIS also offers an academic scheduling software, grade reporting and transcripts, attendance, testing and assessment, government reports, and more. And to expand Aeries SIS’ functionality, the platform integrates directly with other cloud-based tools, such as Livingtree, Microsoft, Google Classroom, Titan, Canvas, Certica, and Illuminate.
Aeries SIS’ pricing plan is offered by quote and only available upon request.
Alma SIS provides schools and school districts with extensive sets of features that support district, school, and student administration. Its district solutions offer core SIS features, such as district schools and dashboards, calendar, bus routes, and custom reporting, including state reporting, scheduling, and support model for district staff members. Alma SIS district solution also comes with command-and-control to distributed decisioning, which enables district administrators to access and view the status of schools within their jurisdictions.
School administration tools include advanced scheduling, course management, demographic data, enrollment history, and virtual file cabinet. This solution also allows schools to integrate the platform with Google Classroom and keep track of assessments. Meanwhile, student administration tools include attendance tracking, biographical data of students, transcripts, IEP designation, and flexible gradebook rubrics.
The prices of Alma SIS’ subscription packages for district and schools are offered by quote.
FACTS SIS is a student information solution for K-12 schools. This cloud-based platform provides school administrators, teachers, and students with tools that streamline student information and school management. For administrators, FACTS SIS provides dashboards that give them all the information they need about each student’s academic records, schedules, behavior, transcripts, and contact information. Another dashboard is dedicated to details about the families of the students and their demographic information.
Teachers also get access to a customizable lesson plan builder, attendance, and behavior reports. Keeping families up-to-date on students’ activities and performance is also easier as the platform automatically syncs relevant data to the family portal. FACTS SIS also provides teachers with a full-featured SIS gradebook that allows them to choose the information that should be indicated in report cards, such as student skill sets and commentaries. As for students and families, FACTS SIS allows them to view the information they need from any device and browser. They can also communicate with teachers and administrators right from the platform.
FACTS SIS also integrates seamlessly with other cloud-based solutions. Among these are Google Classroom, Blackbaud, Cornerstone, PowerSchool, Sycamore, QuickBooks, and many more.
FACTS SIS’ pricing plans are available upon request.
Infinite Campus’ student information system is a web-based and scalable platform that provides school districts with tools to streamline student administration processes of K-12 institutions. Its administration tools include automation of enrollment data management, calendar, school-wide attendance, state reporting, and personalized learning plans.
This SIS also comes with a built-in LMS functionality, which gives users access to professional development tools, quick assessments, gradebook, control center, and student course recommendations, among others. Furthermore, Infinite Campus SIS provides parents and students with their own mobile applications, which serve as their main communication channel to reach teachers and administrators.
Infinite Campus SIS also integrates with other applications, such as Google, Campus Digital Repository, and others via LTI integration.
Infinite Campus SIS’ pricing plans are only available upon request.
Another modular student information system, BigSIS offers a variety of flexible tools for every user group—admissions, registrar, parent, teachers, and more. Because of its design, schools are free to create, choose, and add any module they need to create a powerful SIS.
BigSIS modules include leads management, which keeps track of potential enrollees. This module also allows you to customize the enrollment workflow and assign tasks to a member of the admissions staff to ensure a smooth enrollment process. Schools can also add an online payment platform, which BigSIS offers through Authorize.net.
The student management module houses relevant student details and allows teachers to build their own rubric-type grading matrix that follows the school’s student evaluation process. This module also enables the user to generate student progress reports at any given time of the school year, as well as grading reports at the end of the semester.
Furthermore, the gradebook module takes on the time-consuming manual computation of student grades. The gradebook module enables teachers to build their own gradebook by adding weighted categories, such as tests, quizzes, homework, and class participation. This module also supports unlimited file upload, which enables teachers to share supplementary documents that students and their parents can view and download.
Although BigSIS modules come with a price, the platform adds free features from time to time. Once released, these features are automatically installed during module updates without any charge.
BigSIS has three subscription packages that clients can customize according to the modules they need.
MySchool SIS offers a broad-range of powerful features that support day-to-day school management. Some of the features simplify the complex admission process through configurable workflows and application forms easily customized using its drag-and-drop form builder. Scheduling is also hassle-free with the timetable and room management tools that offer a 360-view of each student, teacher, class, and classroom timetables.
Other features of MySchool SIS include communication tools for administrators, teachers, students, and parents; attendance management, billing, and donations management, among others. And to make sure that all information stored in the cloud-based platform is secure, MySchool SIS secures information security certification (ISO 27001), PIPEDA and GDPR compliance, and maintains data encryption during data transmission and storage.
MySchool SIS also integrates with other platforms, such as Microsoft for Education and Google Classroom, Microsoft SDS, Zoom for Education, Blackboard Collaborate, TurnItIn, Braintree, and more.
All packages require a minimum of 100 student licenses.
Oracle Higher Education Cloud offers Oracle Student Cloud, which is a full-featured, cloud native SIS designed to support lifelong learning through continuous innovation of the platform. Through the Oracle Student Cloud solution, Oracle provides higher education institutions with flexible and fully integrated modules that handle student management, recruitment, financial planning, and student engagement.
The platform also provides clients with a wide range of resources on how they can maximize Student Cloud’s capabilities, especially in terms of delivering a more personalized learning experience and providing assistance to students who need guidance in making financial or academic decisions.
Oracle Student Cloud’ pricing is offered by quote and is only available upon request.
Primarily built for managing student data, student information systems have evolved to play more crucial roles in the modern academic landscape and have become a staple in latest online education trends. There are now what can be considered as hybrid SIS or those that have other solutions like LMS natively embedded into the system, or a school bus routing software as part of student services.
While additional functionalities are normally considered a good characteristic, the fundamental tools of a student information system must remain as the top features to look for and examine carefully. Among these are data security and accessibility, usability, automation, customizability, communication tools, and integration with other technologies. Moreover, it is also important to consider other factors, such as cost, customer support, and scalability.