Financial Aid Simplification
Facing unprecedented demand from students for assistance in FAFSA preparation to access the federal Pell Grant; being responsive to requests by students to access the William D. Ford Federal Loan Program; managing overwhelming case loads of one-on-one student “financial literacy” counseling; and, managing rapidly and ever-changing federal regulations; community colleges are already seeking alternative service-delivery models for processing financial aid. Students, in turn, are increasingly dependent upon grants and loans to access a community college education. Often the confusing process of obtaining financial aid can discourage students to the point of withdrawing from college, or it can result in their funding eligibility being exhausted prior to the completion of a credential. The North Carolina Community College System initiated the financial aid simplification effort in August 2011.
The goal of financial aid simplification is to assist administrators, the college generally, and students and their families specifically by freeing financial aid personnel from time-consuming “policing and processing” responsibilities and enabling first-generation and non-traditional students to access education through financial assistance. This goal can be accomplished by contracting out all or a portion of document processing and verification to obtain “ready to package” records; acquiring on-site consulting to improve operational efficiencies; and other arrangements to improve responsiveness and customer service. Contracting partners include the State Educational Assistance Authority (SEAA), College Foundation, Inc. (CFI), and Financial Aid Services (FAS).
Contact: Jennifer Haygood at firstname.lastname@example.org or (919) 807-7021
Objectives and Desired Outcomes:
- To share information with college Presidents, Chief Financial Officers, Chief Student Officers, and Financial Aid Directors about financial aid simplification, back office processing, and potential cost savings through consortium pricing and process outsourcing.
- To provide sound, accurate financial aid counseling and technical assistance to students and their families by relieving college financial aid personnel of the day-to-day, time-consuming grind of “paper processing.” This promotes “financial literacy” among students and their families, and enhances default management instruction about student loans.
- To provide college access to financially challenged dependent and independent adult learners by helping them navigate the maze of grants, scholarships and loans, leading to a “readily packaged” group of resources that the individual both understands and uses wisely.
- To avoid potential Department of Education audit exceptions and “pay-backs” through accessing customized contracted services to assist with changing regulatory compliance requirements.
- Seek out and obtain operational efficiencies that enhance student-customer services, save college resources, and ensure accurate verification of records. This efficiencies may also be viewed as a “cost-avoidance” measure as demand for financial aid continues to grow exponentially.
- Determine the best available in-state resources for contracting for a range of external to college services at the best possible prices.
Most Recent Activity Report
April UpdateMonday, April 22, 2013 - 09:10
The contract to provide ISIR verification services on behalf of 11 community colleges has been executed for the 2013-14 academic year and submission of ISIRs has begun. CFI conducted a training session for System Office staff on April 9th to ensure appropriate student services and IT staff are familiar with key aspects of the initiative, including lessons learned from the pilot and program enhancements for 2013-14. Work on developing with interface with CIS (Colleague) continues.Next Steps: Meetings:
|Recent Activity Reports||Post date|
|April Update||2013-04-22 09:10|
|Additional Three Colleges Request to Join Initiative||2013-03-07 11:43|
|Financial Aid Simplification Initiative for 2013-14 Academic Year||2013-02-07 11:36|
|Beginning to Take the Initiative to Scale||2013-01-04 15:36|
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