The Administrator

A Dynamic Duo – Rules and Exception Reporting

Most financial aid management (FAM) systems have a means of developing logic-based rules to fit the school’s model. Rules may not be able to capture all the nuances in student aid eligibility; but they can be made flexible enough to capture the vast majority of circumstances. This is where exploiting exception reports comes into play. Continue reading →

Program Integrity Rules – Where We Are Now (Part 1 of 3)

This article (part 1 of 3) discusses where we are with the program integrity rules as they pertain to satisfactory academic progress (SAP), and the challenges that colleges and universities still face. Continue reading →

Tips for Title IV Authorizations

The responsibility for collecting and maintaining students’ and parent borrowers’ authorizations for the treatment of their Title IV funds requires collaboration and cooperation among multiple offices. Continue reading →

Surviving the Peak Periods in a Financial Aid Office

“Once upon a time…” is how most fairy tales begin. In the world of financial aid, only those of us who remember GSL, NDSL, and the Basic Grant also remember when, once upon a time, there were slow times in our offices. Not so anymore. In today’s financial aid office, the “slow times” seem to have gone the way of pay phones, vinyl albums, and TVs with knobs; they’ve become obsolete. Continue reading →

Managing and Organizing Paper Files

Many financial aid offices rely on imaging systems to store electronic copies of key student aid documents. However, few offices are completely paper-free and keeping files well organized is often a challenge especially during peak processing seasons. To help address this challenge, the financial aid office can develop a filing system, and document the system as part of the office’s policies and procedures manual. Here are some simple strategies that can help schools organize and track applicant file folders. Continue reading →

Tips for Creating and Using an Operational Calendar

One challenge shared by all financial aid administrators is trying to juggle all the requirements imposed primarily by factors outside the aid office. Those that utilize some type of planning tool, like a calendar, not only have a better grasp on the happenings in their world, but they also have evidence that can be used to demonstrate to other institutional administrators (bosses), just how many things you have to balance in your job. So, let’s take a look at some options for creating an operational calendar. Continue reading →

Building a Training Plan for the Financial Aid Office

In our experience conducting operational reviews and helping clients resolve compliance issues, ECG has found that a lack of training in the financial aid office can pose a serious risk for the entire institution. Without adequate training, there is a much greater likelihood that processing errors and inconsistencies will occur in the administration of financial aid. Not only can this create financial risk for a school if the errors result in liability following a program review or audit; it can also tarnish the school’s customer service record, which may, in turn, impact enrollment.

Yet, with all the demands placed on financial aid offices and with many operating under a staffing shortage, how can schools ensure adequate training for their financial aid staff?

As with any business challenge, it starts with developing a plan. A well-coordinated training plan for the financial aid office should include strategies for both new and current employees. Continue reading →