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Synergy: Financial Aid in the Combined Office Model. MASFAA 2002 November 14, 2002 Moderated by Daniel Barkowitz, MIT. What is Synergy?. The interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects.

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synergy financial aid in the combined office model

Synergy:Financial Aid in the Combined Office Model


November 14, 2002

Moderated by Daniel Barkowitz, MIT

what is synergy
What is Synergy?
  • The interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects.
  • Cooperative interaction among groups, especially among the acquired subsidiaries or merged parts of a corporation, that creates an enhanced combined effect.
today s agenda
Today’s agenda
  • A Rationale for Synergy in Action
  • Some examples:
    • Overview of structure / Customer Interactions / Lessons learned / Transition
      • Kim Downs, Boston College
      • Michelle Mattie, Westfield State College
      • Patty Reilly, Tufts University
      • Michele Kosboth, Lasell College
  • Questions and Answers / General Discussion
moving from vertical to horizontal views of the organization
Moving from Vertical to Horizontal Views of the Organization

The old way

VP / Dean or President




“In this environment, subordinate managers tend to perceive other functions as enemies, rather than as partners in the battle against the competition.” – Rummler & Brache, Improving Performance

the new view one example
The new view:One example

Financial Aid Student Acct. Registrar





Paying the bill

“…the greatest opportunities for performance improvement often lie in the functional interfaces – those points at which the baton… is being passed from one department to another.” – Rummler & Brache

the federal challenge
The Federal Challenge
  • Under 34 CFR 668.16 (c) (2), (Standards of Administrative Capability):
    • Divides the functions of authorizing payments and disbursing or delivering funds so that no office has responsibility for both functions with respect to any particular student aided under the programs. For example, the functions of authorizing payments and disbursing or delivering funds must be divided so that for any particular student aided under the programs, the two functions are carried out by at least two organizationally independent individuals who are not members of the same family, as defined in Sec. 668.15, or who do not together exercise substantial control, as defined in Sec. 668.15, over the institution
  • How to work with this?
    • What makes up an office?
    • How is someone organizationally independent?
    • By student
definitions from 668 15
Definitions from 668.15
  • The Secretary considers a member of a person’s family to be a parent, sibling, spouse, child, spouse’s parent or sibling, or sibling’s or child’s spouse.
  • The Secretary generally considers a person to exercise substantial control over an institution or third-party servicer, if the person—
    • (i) Directly or indirectly holds at least a 25 percent ownership interest in the institution or servicer;
    • (ii) Holds, together with other members of his or her family, at least a 25 percent ownership interest in the institution or servicer;
    • (iii) Represents, either alone or together with other persons, under a voting trust, power of attorney, proxy, or similar agreement one or more persons who hold, either individually or in combination with the other persons represented or the person representing them, at least a 25 percent ownership in the institution or servicer; or
    • (iv) Is a member of the board of directors, the chief executive officer, or other executive officer of
      • (A) The institution or servicer; or
      • (B) An entity that holds at least a 25 percent ownership interest in the institution or servicer
ways of organizing
Ways of organizing
  • Enrollment Management
  • Student Service Models
    • Financial Services
    • General Services
  • MIT’s Answer
  • Other?
outreach to customers
Outreach to customers
  • Financial Aid – use the term?
    • Web Presence
    • Phone lines
  • Titling of staff
  • Designated Account Reps / Account Teams?
  • Officer of the Day model?
  • Manage the “white space” effectively
  • Budgetary savings
  • Build linkages with account teams
  • Unified vision of student service

Tufts University

    • Medford Campus
  • 5000 Undergraduate Students
  • 2000 Graduate Students
  • 3500 Receive Financial Aid
  • Financial Aid Professional Staff of Six

Tufts University

    • Why?
  • Student Service Improvement
  • Dowling Hall Space
  • Increased Efficiencies

Tufts University

    • How?
  • Hired Outside Consultant – August ‘98
  • Redesign Team – November ‘98 – May ‘99
  • 10 people x 2.5 days/wk for 6 months
  • Nine implementation Teams – June ‘99 – June ‘00
  • met once a week for 9 months
  • Moving Day – June ‘00

Tufts University

    • Tufts Student Services
  • 3 Functional Teams:
  • Financial Services – Financial Aid, Bursar, Student Employment
  • Academic Services – Deans Office, Registrar, Advising
  • Career Services
  • 3 Support Teams:
  • Student Service Desk
  • Program Support
  • Technology

Tufts University

    • What works well?
  • Families Love It
  • Coordination of Services
  • Some Staff Savings

Tufts University

    • What Doesn’t Work Well
  • Communications
  • Priority Setting
  • Staffing Issues

Tufts University

    • Lessons Learned
  • Learn From Site Visits to Other Schools
  • Use Technology as Problem Solver
  • Pay Attention to Space Issues
  • Staff Support is Crucial
enrollment management at lasell
Enrollment Management at Lasell
  • Enrollment Management Model:
    • Financial Planning, Registrar and Admissions report to VP for Enrollment Management.
    • Bursar/Student Accounts reports to VP for Finance, but is housed in same building with Financial Planning and Registrar. Admissions is in the house next door.
lasell college
Lasell College
  • 1000 Full time students
  • New Grad program – 13 students
  • Financial Planning staff of 2: Director, Assistant Director but share half of two support staff – one with Registrar, one with Bursar
lasell college23
Lasell College
  • Key to success at Lasell College: Student centered, customer service oriented philosophy that begins at the top with the President.
  • Access to each others databases and cross training to be able to provide information without shuffling students around.
  • Admissions staff trained on basic FA information, helps during peak season with contacting students for missing paperwork, answering questions etc.
  • Communication and Coordination – we are small so it is easy, but critical.
boston college
Boston College

Integration for the Future 2002

Student Services - A One Stop Center

Presented at MASFAA

Nov 13-15 2002

boston college26
Boston College
  • 15,000 students
  • Jesuit-Catholic University
  • 4 undergraduate schools
  • 6 graduate schools
  • Woods College of Advancing Studies

Student Services Director

Current Organization

Dean Enrollment Mgmt

Director of Financial Services

• Fin Aid

• Student Loans

• Collection

• Student Employment

Director of Academic, & General Services

• General Services

Customer Support


ID Cards


• Academic Services

• Records

• Transcripts

Director of Operations

• Cross Functional


• One Card Services

Meal Plan

Dorm Access

Outside Vendors

• Processing

• Bursar

• Local and Technical Support

Undergraduate Admission

Research & Strategy

agora on the web bc s meeting place
Agora on the Web (BC’s Meeting Place)
  • Features Include: Informational
    • View/Change Directory Information
    • Obtain Email Address
    • Check on the Status Of Loans
    • View Classmate Roster
    • View Course History, current schedule and grades
    • View Degree Audit
    • View Employment information
    • View financial aid application and awards
    • View Student Account
    • View Eagle One Card Balances
agora on the web bc s meeting place37
Agora on the Web (BC’s Meeting Place)
  • Features Include: Transactions
    • Complete a Medical Insurance Waiver
    • Complete Stafford Entrance Counseling
    • Create or add money to Eagle One Card
    • Deactivate ID and request replacement
    • Create a second billing address
    • Generate a degree audit
    • Simulate a degree audit
    • Set Privacy preferences
    • Request a refund
    • Make an ACH Payment
    • Request transcripts or enrollment certifications/track request
  • One-stop location
  • Space
  • Training
  • Student and parent surveys
  • Staff development
  • Process redesign
parent survey
Parent Survey
  • 93 percent of parents who had visited the office were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the in-person assistance they received.
  • 88 percent were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the ease of reaching BC by phone.
  • 95 percent said they son or daughter was “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the university’s secure Web site for student services.
  • 82 percent of respondents reported they would use a secure Internet site for conducting business with the university.
student survey
Student Survey
  • Importance rankings:
    • Answering questions accurately
    • Courtesy and respect
    • Within promised time-frames
    • Convenient operating hours*
    • Correct the first time
    • Prompt service*
    • Confidence that employees will provide service correctly*
    • Clarity of written communication
    • Clarity of voice procedures
    • Clarity of web procedures
    • Ability to do business on web
    • Attractiveness of web materials
  • *High importance; low satisfaction
  • Telephone calls
  • Staff turnover
  • Continuous activity
  • Learning and development
  • Communication
  • Campus cultural differences
process redesign

ID photos



Meal plan

3rd party servicers


Academic regulations


Study abroad

ACH/Credit Cards


Process Redesign
student services
Student Services
  • Lessons Learned
    • Start with more people then you will eventually need, then reduce
    • Drive organization & technology components with process changes
    • Protect your team members
      • Train them, leave them alone, then train them again
      • Patience
      • Rewards
    • Location, Location, Location. Make your space fit your organization
    • Maintain timelines & workplans, no matter how much they change
    • Break out of the hierarchy
student services44
Student Services
  • Facts of Life
    • Time will solve many things.
      • It will take one to two years to settle the dust
      • Staff can not learn all there is to know in a short time frame.
      • There is more to organize than you can organize
      • One day at a time
    • There will be staff who will and will not accept change
      • Good people will leave…hire new good people
      • Protect key roles
      • Management must be part of daily operations
    • Operational Role is critical