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Financial Aid Best Practices. Crystal Finefrock, Associate Director of Financial Aid Plymouth State University Scott MacDonald, Director of Financial Aid, Transfer & Student Employment Southern Maine Community College Christine McGuire, Executive Director of Financial Assistance

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Financial aid best practices

Financial Aid Best Practices

Crystal Finefrock, Associate Director of Financial Aid

Plymouth State University

Scott MacDonald, Director of Financial Aid, Transfer & Student Employment

Southern Maine Community College

Christine McGuire, Executive Director of Financial Assistance

Boston University


Southern maine community college

Scott MacDonald

Director of Financial Aid, Transfer & Student Employment

[email protected]

Southern Maine Community College


What Constitutes

“Best Practices”?

  • Is the Implication That Anything Other Than a Best Practice is “Just Getting By”?

  • Given Vast Regulatory Landscape, Are We Setting Ourselves Up for Mediocrity?

  • NASFAA “Standards of Excellence” & “Self-Evaluation Guide”


What others are saying about us
What Others Are Saying About Us

  • To give away money is an easy matter, and in anyone’s power. But to decide to whom to give it, and how much and when, And for what purpose and how, is neither in everyone’s power nor an easy matter. Hence it is that such excellence is rare, praiseworthy and noble.” ~ Aristotle


Best practice formulation points characteristics
Best Practice Formulation Points & Characteristics

  • Answers Questions

  • Distills Complex Ideas

  • Provides Direction

  • Makes it Possible

  • Engages all Staff

  • Meets Quality Assurance

  • Adapts to Change

  • Mission/Purpose

  • Engages a Target Audience

  • Meets a Requirement

  • Provides Information

  • Promotes Access

  • Communicates Effectively


Southern maine community college examples
Southern Maine Community College Examples:

  • Academic Competitiveness Grant Form and Practice

  • “Exciting Exits: One Institution’s Response to the Dreaded ‘E’ Word”


Southern maine community college examples1
Southern Maine Community College Examples:

Student Loan Peer Counseling Video

http://www.smccme.edu/financialaid/stafford/


Plymouth state university
Plymouth State University

Crystal Finefrock

Associate Director of Financial Aid

[email protected]



Our destiny was….

CHANGE

  • Financial Aid Director Retires

  • Financial Aid IT Specialist Retires

  • SIS Conversion!!


Where did we begin?

We began by reviewing ”Best Practices!”

  • Business Process Mapping

  • Team Approach

  • Process Efficiencies

    • Paperless Process

    • Automated Processes

  • Correspondence and Website Review


What were the results of our best practices

“Financial Aid – A Team You Can Count On!”

Counseling – Expected to go beyond the basics

Improved customer experience – “It’s all about YOU!”

Proactive not reactive

Think outside the box

Positive energy is contagious

Weekly staff meetings

What were the results of our “Best Practices”…


What were the results of our best practices1

Recognition for a job well done

Leveling of workload

Easier to adapt to regulatory changes

Collaborative and imaginative work environment - FUN

Cost savings and “value added” to office processes

Creation of Financial Literacy Initiative - $MART

What were the results of our “Best Practices”…


Boston university

Christine McGuire

Executive Director of Financial Assistance

Boston University


Childhood Dreams?

How many of you dreamed of being a financial aid administrator?

Or even of working in higher education?


A second tier profession
A Second Tier Profession?

As a “niche” profession without flashy perks and large salaries, we are seldom a career to which young people aspire.


Cuomo: School loan corruption widespread

Large student-loan firm settles with N.Y. AG

Sallie Mae to alter business practices,

pay $2 million to education fund

Cuomo: States Will Pursue Student Loan Fiasco


Has the financial aid profession experienced the 5 stages of grief?

Stage 1: Denial

“I know my members. They play by the rules. They are ethical. They don’t cut corners. They don’t take bribes.”

NASFAA President Dallas Martin, March 19, 2007

Stage 2: Anger

"You have insulted not only our profession, but also each individual financial aid administrator who is a devoted professional."

NASFAA President Dallas Martin, March 19, 2007


Has the financial aid profession experienced the 5 stages of grief?

Stage 3: Bargaining

“By taking this more conciliatory stance, we also were able to begin a positive dialogue with his office to move beyond the accusations…we invited him to attend our Annual Conference and to address our conferees at our closing session.”

NASFAA President Dallas Martin, June 28, 2007

Stage 4: Depression

“The nation's college student-aid administrators came here [Washington, D.C.] last week as a group in need of healing.”

Paul Basken, Chronicle of Higher Education, July 20, 2007


Has the financial aid profession experienced the 5 stages of grief?

Stage 5: Acceptance

"You are the professionals who create opportunity everyday… It is the most honorable profession anyone could ever have."

NASFAA President Dallas Martin, July 8, 2007

“’People have been wondering where we are,’ said Mr. Day, now chancellor of City College of San Francisco, in an interview earlier this month. ‘We need to ramp it up.’”

New NASFAA President Philip Day, speaking with Kelly Field, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 18, 2008



12 step program for the financial aid profession
12 Step Program for the a twelve step program?Financial Aid Profession

  • Acknowledge what has changed in our daily work life

  • Engage in conversation with the staff constantly

  • Accept the increased level of interest of what we do, and necessity to be transparent


Institutional gift policy a twelve step program?

Conflict of interest policy

The process for evaluating and disclosing lenders or loans recommended, regardless of Federal or private credit

12 Step Program for the Financial Aid Profession

4. Articulate clear policies regarding:


12 step program for the financial aid profession1
12 Step Program for the a twelve step program?Financial Aid Profession

  • Share your vision of why our career is important

  • Continually articulate the value of the work a staff member is performing. What is the contribution to the overall mission and to their professional development?


12 Step Program for the a twelve step program?Financial Aid Profession

  • Show appreciation for all staff and celebrate accomplishment

Make time for some fun when possible and appropriate, but watch for too much of a “party atmosphere”, as it can be seen as unprofessional, and not all staff will appreciate too much time away from getting work done.


Executive Director a twelve step program?

Director

Associate Director

Associate Director

Senior Assistant Director

Assistant Director

Sr. Financial Aid

Advisor

Financial Aid Advisor

Student

Workers

12 Step Program for the Financial Aid Profession

Show path for advancement and advanced responsibility and job title, recognizing longevity and experience.


12 Step Program for the a twelve step program?Financial Aid Profession

  • Empower staff to fulfill your mission

    • Staff are the institution in the eyes and experience of students and parents

“You are B.U.”

10. Model the professionalism you expect


12 Step Program for the a twelve step program?Financial Aid Profession

  • Continue to set high expectations for yourself and your colleagues

  • Portray a positive image of your institution, your position in the school and of the financial aid profession


Questions and discussion
Questions and Discussion a twelve step program?


Shared best practices at the 2008 new england regional form
Shared “Best Practices” at the 2008 New England Regional Form

  • Thank you to all who participated in our session, “Financial Aid Best Practices”. The following examples were provided by some of our audience members. Please contact them directly if you would like to hear more about the project listed.

  • From Donna Kendall at Bentley College:

  • “Our office manages student employment. In addition to recognizing the Student Employee of the Year at an annual event, the department where the student works has the honor of displaying a banner that reads, ‘Home of the Bentley Student Employee of the Year for 20XX’. We also began recognizing a student supervisor of the year two years ago.”

  • Contact: [email protected], 781-891-2913

  • From Emily Liebling at GEAR UP Maine (www.gearupme.org) :

  • “Obviously we are not a financial aid office, but as a GEAR UP statewide program that serves over 3,000 students in 7-12 grades in Maine we have found the following things to be effective:

  • more district control of the implementation of their GU program

  • senior self-verification of their personal information to ensure we can match them to their FAFSA and know they’re eligible for a GU scholarship

  • collaboration with other statewide and local initiatives with similar goals, and post-secondary institutions in the state

  • a pod cast covering various topics (including financial aid)

  • Contact: [email protected], 207-272-5109

  • From Tom Taylor at UMass Lowell:

  • “’Working On & Off Campus’. As part of orientation, we had career services and financial aid co-present a one hour session to all students. The objectives were

  • Perspective – to tie career goals with the benefits of working on and off campus,

  • Employment Readiness – to complete I-9’s and W-4’s (sent out with orientation packet) so that students working on campus would have all paperwork but the signed contract completed, and

  • Responsibility/Self Management – to help students understand how to best manage work and academic responsibilities

  • Contact: [email protected], 978-734-3933


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