Making The Most of Your

fanaticalpumaMechanics

Nov 5, 2013 (4 years and 2 days ago)

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Making The Most of Your

Financial
Aid System

Anna
Kelly

Director of Financial Aid

New England Institute of
Technology




Russ Romandini

Senior Systems Analyst

Higher Education Assistance Group,
Inc.


What
is needed to succeed?


Support from
teammates

Support from
boss or bosses

Knowledgeable
resources

Willingness to
try (and maybe
fail) a few times
before you get
it right



Challenges


Describing the benefits of new
processes to colleagues outside of the
financial aid office


Convincing administration to spend
money


Managing time to conduct work while
maintaining daily office duties


Learning the technical stuff

New Job, New Software,

New Experiences


Accepted position as financial aid director at a
private, non
-
profit college as of September, 2010


Now had to use a system I had not used before


Limited experience with 2 plus 2 system with 4
ten
-
week quarters


Limited IT support


New responsibility of upgrading software
updates

Where Do I Begin?


Needed to set up annual year roll process,
and decided to bring in outside help to
make sure I learned best practices for my
software


Involved staff in new set up procedures


Involved staff in what automation options
were available


Involved staff in what functions we
need/wish list

New
Processes

Valued
Added

Pros vs.
Cons

Team
work

BUY
-
IN

Putting The Plan Into Action

Establish Timeline

Increased usage of
Self
-
service function

Automated missing
information letters

Automated
satisfactory academic
progress process

Make A Plan and Stick To It


Dec 2010
-
New year 11
-
12 roll process


Feb 2011
-
Auto
-
packaging with tracking


March 2011
-
Auto
-
packaging and
student self service/web accept of
aid/loan periods


May 2011
-
Missing information letter


Aug 2011
-
SAP process



Ongoing Efforts


Staff training is continuous
-

communication and training for staff
and ½ day training sessions


Allow plenty of time for
questions/discussion


Increase comfort level with changes in
their tasks/stress benefits to students

What Are Your System Hot Spots?


When did you last make a list of items that
you would like to automate and/or
improve processes?


Where can you improve automation in
your system or remove redundancy?


Benefits of automation


Improves processing accuracy & awarding
equity


Increases staff & student satisfaction

Where Can I Make System
Improvements?


Managing System Release Updates


ISIR Loads


Student Applications


Letter Generation


Conflicts


COD Processing & Reconciliation


Budgeting & Packaging


Automated Packaging


R2T4

Software Release Updates


Who manages system release updates
on your campus?


How would you rate your level of
system support on your campus?


How quickly are system upgrades
loaded?


Are you a beta
-
tester or do you wait to
hear about any potential known release
issues?

Software Release Updates (cont.)


Is automation embraced on your campus
or are many things still done manually?


For those using a single
-
source system, is
information fed routinely to and from
other key offices? (Admissions, Student
Accounts, Registrar etc.)


How many of you believe that you’re
getting the most out of your current
software package?


ISIR Data Load & folder preparation


Review ISIR Load Process


How often are files loaded?


How much time does the file load
process take?


Is there a process in place to
account for the potential of
dropped records?


Are there ways to improve accuracy
and/or efficiency?

ISIR
Loads




Have you clearly defined your student
groups?


Entering students


Returning students


Not Selected for Verification


Selected for Verification


V1, V2, V3, V4, V5


Independent


Dependent


Graduate Students


Ensures that data can be segmented for
reporting and executing communication
plans

Grouping
of Student
Application
Data




Are communications to students
automated to run on their or
through executable job
processes?


Missing documentation letters
run every other week (or more
often depending on need)


Award letters run weekly


Right to cancel notifications run
day of disbursement

Letter
Generation &
Executing
Communication
Plans




Comment codes


Parent/Student tax data
flagged as “02”


cleared
through IRS Data Retrieval
Tool (DRT)


Parent/Student tax data
flagged as “05”


did not
use IRS Data Retrieval Tool
(DRT) but eligible to do so

How Do You
Identify
Conflicting
Information?
How do you
clear it?

Reject/C
-
Flags




Clearing Loan exceptions


Sending Loan Disbursement
Notifications


Is your DL Reconciliation
process automated through
DL Tools or other process?


What have you done recently
to further automate and/or
streamline your loan process?

COD
Processing &
Reconciliation




How have you
segmented your budget
groups?


Do you assign budget
groups in batch or do
you manually assign a
group upon initial file
review?

Budgeting
and
Packaging
Groups




Are you using the automated packaging
functionality in your software system?


Saves time and improves awarding
accuracy & equity


If yes, to what extent are you using it?


Federal funds only


Institutional funds


Leveraging


If not, why not?


Lack of internal resources?


Shortage of expertise on campus with
implementing formulas?


Other?

Automated
Packaging


Does your software system
have built in R2T4 processing?
If so, is it being used?


How do you capture list of
withdrawn students? Do you
have control to run
withdrawal reports or do you
depend on receiving data
from other departments?

Return of
Title IV
fund
Processing



Additional Recommendations


Paperless options


Satisfactory Academic Progress


Federal Work
-
Study processing


Do you have a process that you’ve
recently automated that has
improved efficiency and/or equity?

Thank you for attending our session!


Anna Kelly

New England Institute of Technology

akelly@neit.edu


Russ Romandini

Higher Education Assistance Group

rromandini@heag.us


www.heag.us

-

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Inc.