Case Study II


The DecidED API empowers any organization to turn financial aid award letters into structured, categorized data — allowing anyone to give students valuable & timely feedback during an already stressful process.

The Problem

Our Approach


After the launch of the DecidED web app, we came across organizations interested in our financial aid data but that already had their own platforms in place.

Many of these were using similar data - but were still entering it manually for students, spending an average of 3 minutes per letter. Noble, but often untenable.

Given how many students apply to college each year, most with more than one application, the number of hours to support students with accurate financial aid insights is staggering.

We saw an opportunity to expand our reach by making our award letter processor available directly through an API. This could allow more organizations to go to scale, ultimately serving more of our target users.

We considered: How might we bring DecidED's award letter processing capability to the wider college access space? 

The Problem

We started with market research and user interviews to define product requirements.

From there, the engineering team and I scoped our API architecture and landed on a GraphQL API. (We found it to be the best choice for our specific data delivery needs). 

Using spreadsheets and a development environment, I supported less technical early-adopters with transformed and sanitized data that was ready for their load processes. 

I collaborated with the partnerships team to evaluate potential clients' technical readiness and develop an onboarding process.

As part of our larger marketing efforts, I demonstrated our API live to potential partners and funders — processing hundreds of letters in only a few minutes.

We released our product to partners in 2022.

Our Approach


Award letters processed


person hours saved

  • Overall, the launch process had more legal hurdles than we initially anticipated (e.g., PII and data sharing), but once we cleared these, the technical integration was seamless. 
  • Access to the API enabled partner organizations to launch their own new product lines. 
  • Before this API, I had only worked on B2C products, and taking on a B2B product was a welcome learning curve, especially when it came to research, feedback, and maintaining partnerships. E.g., I transitioned from working primarily with educators and school officials to CEOs, engineering leads, and other PM's. 


I'd love to hear from you about your team and any developments you have in the works. Reach out, and I'll be in touch before you know it. 

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