Financial Aid Office Assessment
The Financial Aid Office makes a degree financially possible for every qualified USU student. Financial resources are awarded to students based on federal law, state law, and university priorities in accordance with its land-grant mission to promote access to higher education. Services include:
- Administering Federal and State Grant and Loan Programs
- Student Employment and Work-Study
- Helping Raise Awareness of Financial Aid Programs
- Financial Counseling for USU Students
In order to fulfill its mission, policies and procedures must be continually evaluated to ensure prompt, efficient service in compliance with law. Evaluations include: satisfaction surveys, annual audits, and management review.
Goals and Learning Outcomes
To assist in reaching our stated mission, the Financial Aid Office will:
- Provide accurate, timely service to students.
- Maintain compliance with federal law.
- Train staff to meet changing demands.
- Publicize aid opportunities and serve as a resource to campus and the larger community.
- Promote professional development and remain abreast of industry changes and best practices.
The Financial Aid Office adheres to the requirements of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (as amended), the regulations and guidance issued by the US Department of Education, and the guidelines established by the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA).
|Financial Aid Office Assessment Plan/Matrix 2017-2018|
(Objectives and Learning Outcomes)
|Increase our office’s participation in state, regional, and national professional association activities and trainings.||Track number of employees attending or participating in association events and conferences.||Program information or registration data.||Spring/Summer 2018||Director||Student Affairs Goals 1, 3, 6, and 7|
|Thoroughly evaluate exit counseling process and our compliance with federal requirements. Implement revisions as necessary||FSA Handbook, NASFAA materials, best practices from other schools||Argos reports, Banner data and processes, individual student files, and FSA Handbook.||Spring 2018||Director, Associate Director, Team Lead (Counselor)||Student Affairs Goals 2 and 6|
|Conduct a feasibility study on the creation of an authenticated student message system for financial aid-related questions and communications.||Evaluation of ServiceNow and its functionality, paired with interviews of office staff and student focus group to define requirements.||Employees and current student feedback, as well as documentation of business requirements and testing.||Spring/Summer 2018||Director, Associate Director, Systems Analyst||Student Affairs Goals 1, 3, and 6|
|Carefully scrutinize how we deal with SAR C codes that require institutional resolution. Make revisions as necessary, focusing on student experience.||Evaluation of current processes in Banner and CampusLogic, including timeliness and content of student messaging.||Argos reports, CampusLogic and Banner data, as well as resources from the Department of Education.||Spring 2018||Director, Assigned Counselors||Student Affairs Goals 1 and 6|
|Implement new strategies for managing cohort default rate and reaching out to support at-risk students and drive appropriate corrective action.||Review of former students and risk factors, as well as best practices from other schools and industry leaders.||Carefully track student responses to our efforts and resulting action to avoid default.||Spring 2018||Director, Program Coordinator||Student Affairs Goals 1, 3, and 6|
|Evaluate and refine awarding process, including removing supplemental requirements, reducing manual adjustments, and automating summer process.||Review of current procedures, system processes, and areas that currently require manual intervention (looking for areas of opportunity for automation and simplification).||Data from Banner and Argos reports, as well as interviews with counselors and identifying best practices at other institutions.||Spring/Summer 2018||Director, Associate Director, Assistant Director of Computer Operations||Student Affairs Goals 1 and 3|
Please see the documents below for historical data measuring office effectiveness. They include total aid disbursed each year since 2004-05, as well as the summary from our most recent student satisfaction survey (conducted in October 2016) and our most recent Self Study Report.
In the 2016-17 academic year, the Financial Aid office implemented a number of changes to better serve our students and keep pace with federal requirements:
- Partnered with CampusLogic, bringing the verification process, as well as the gathering of other required documentation, online for students and parents.
- Added past loan amounts to the student acceptance screen, in order to better inform student borrowing decisions.
- Addressed conflicting data between 2016-17 and 2017-18 FAFSA data, as required by the US Department of Education.
- Completely revamped our office website to be more intuitive and user-friendly.
- Realigned alphabet queues for counselors to better utilize resources and improve service.
- Implemented Appointment Manager, allowing students to schedule their own appointments with a Financial Aid Counselor.
- Increased proactive communications to students in an effort to anticipate and resolve problems early.
- Awarded 2017-18 Pell Grant funds during summer 2017 in preparation for the implementation of year-round Pell Grants to benefit our students.
- Brought default management efforts back in-house to allow for more strategic efforts suited to the needs of our former students.
- Hired three additional student employees to better manage workload and student outreach efforts.