Happy National Financial Aid Day! Celebrated on the third Wednesday of October ever since 2011, today is all about celebrating the thousands of Financial Aid employees who help make education possible. Everything you do to help change the lives of thousands of students and give them the opportunity to access higher education makes a lasting impact. This special day gives us the chance to recognize your office and all your accomplishments. In an often tiresome and thanks-less job, from everyone here at CampusLogic, we want to say THANK YOU!
Our Financial Aid Day Winners
In celebration of #FinAidNinjas nationwide, CampusLogic hosted the inaugural Financial Aid Day Contest. Financial Aid Office employees were encouraged to submit stories showcasing how they are innovative, overcoming challenges, and student-centric. The prizes: registrations to EmpowerED—the SFS Tech Conference—happening in Arizona April 1-2, 2019. Meet the winners and read their responses below!
1st place and the winner of four EmpowerED19 registrations: Sewanee-The University of the South
"Changes, they are everywhere. Couple that with training two new team members and then having three leave for greener pastures. During this time we still implemented new technologies to provide our students a better experience and ultimately help them finish the aid process. Our office realized a 33% increase in awards "out the door" during our first processing cycle of 1819 compared to 1718. For us it is baby steps, we are still excited to continue our journey (with two new staff members, again) into 2019-2020 with an eye toward continued innovations thanks to our many partners in Financial Aid."
2nd place and the winner of two EmpowerED19 registrations: University of Colorado Denver
“I have developed several front-end interfaces and back-end processes to replace the institutions reliance on spreadsheets and email in Scholarship, Tuition Remission, other Departmental Awards, and in coordinating internal and interdepartmental Student Support. The first year the Department Award piece alone was implemented, we dropped average completion from almost 2 weeks to less than 2 days, removed over 80% of cases requiring follow-up and over 95% of data validation issues. Actual staff hours saved was over 6,000 despite a soft-launch extending across two terms. Since then, we've cultivated a team of passionate #FinAidNinjas who have built dynamic scheduling solutions, an engaging web presence, tripled our per-student communication touchpoints while adding highly customized, timely, accurate, elaborate, and aesthetically pleasing content in those. We've transformed external staff's engagement, perceptions, and impacts within and around our Scholarship Applications and interaction with Financial Aid. We've consolidated messaging internally and in coordination with Student Access and Enrollment, while improving transparency, and empowering staff and faculty, as well as delivering service and funds to students consistently in time-frames I was assured wasn't possible just a couple of years ago. On the back-end, we're showing other administrative offices why it isn't enough to make systems talk to each-other, and are making PeopleSoft sing beautifully with various homegrown, internal enterprise, and SAAS elements to provide seamless, student-centered service. The list goes on, but this is just what you do when you're living the #FinAidNinja Life.”
3rd place and the winner of one EmpowerED19 registration: Walden University
“We started using CampusLogic in August 2017 and it has been a game changer! By using reports we have been able to prioritize the students we want to review each morning. This has really helped us focus on our new students. Also the ease of use of the CampusLogic system has made training our new employees much simpler.”
Collection of some of our other contest submissions:
“2018-2019 has been a huge year for the Financial Aid Office at Bakersfield College. We've made some major changes on several fronts: changed the FAFSA verification process for students to a mobile-friendly paperless system (thanks to @CampusLogic), introduced a new Direct Deposit payment system for students through BankMobile so they can receive their money in a more timely manner, learned a new internal enterprise system (Banner 9) for our Technicians to improve internal processes, re-built our website from the ground up, completely revamped our Scholarship process through the work of our new Scholarship coordinator, restructured and implemented an improved training program for our student employees to improve quality of service at the front counter, and added new social media channels to improve our communication with students and strengthen our connection to the Bakersfield College community. With all of these new projects being introduced simultaneously, it has required a hard-working #FinAidNinja team. With so many changes in one academic year, there have been the inevitable growing pains along the way (for both staff and students), but we are proud of the Financial Aid team for pulling through this transition period and working so hard to make all of these new, exciting improvements a reality for Bakersfield College. And we've greatly appreciated our partnership with @CampusLogic every step of the way.”
University of North Carolina at Asheville:
“There has been lots of talk about financial aid packages being difficult to understand. We made substantial changes to our FA packaging communication to prospective students including a special letter organized clearly, a glossary page of terms, a special benefits to FA brochure, and a packaging that matches the spirit and tone of everything else they get from the University. My team recognizes the importance of being a resource, but more importantly that families really need to understand what's being offered to them. We want families to know that we're here to help, and explaining things clearly is the highest of our many priorities.”
“We have come a long way in the last 2 years. Having been a QA school for decades doing a very small number of verifications, to now have a volume 6 times higher then before is troubling. Using StudentForms to assist in the collection of documents and the smart logic in the tool has helped us streamline our communication to students and the collection of verification documents. Processing times did increase, as expected, but we were able to maintain the higher volume with no additional staff to complete verifications.”
Saint Louis Community College:
“I am the financial aid supervisor for my department here at STLCC-Forest Park. For this great initiative I wanted to highlight my counselor Philip, who was very helpful in assisting two students who were just recently released from incarceration and looking to enroll in school and apply for aid. He assisted them with the fafsa, and answered all their questions. He did such a great job that the state rehabilitation program the students were a part of reached out and asked if we would partner with them. This partnership required us to go into correction facilities and provide financial aid presentations and fafsa workshops to young men and women in good standing and provide them an opportunity to secure academic and financial opportunities upon release. This story to me was so inspiring because from experience many people shy away from assisting those with criminal backgrounds, and would not be open to even going into that territory to go over and beyond and provide assistance. While I have shown him my appreciation, I think recognition from an outside entity would be welcomed.”
Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania:
“At Slippery Rock we take financial literacy seriously. This semester alone, our FA team will venture into over 30 classrooms to present material on financial aid of course! But also regarding personal finance and financial choices in order to foster healthy financial decisions.”
Central State University:
“We help low income, first generation and at risk students to obtain an education.”
“Our mission is to serve the underserved by bridging the gap for students making the financial aid process accessible and affordable. We work in collaboration with other campus offices to create innovative ways to get students to degree completion.”