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Financial Aid

Every college or university student financial aid office produces reports—tons of them—specific to their particular institution. However, some reports are common to all. One is the annual FISAP (Fiscal Operations Reports and Application to Participate), which summarizes data for the just-completed award year and keeps a financial aid office eligible for federal funding, explains Mary Hillstrom, assistant director of operations for the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Office of Student Financial Aid. The university has 13 campuses; 12 have implemented Oracle PeopleSoft.

The maxim “publish or perish” may be associated with the way faculty operate, but financial aid office administrators would likely agree it describes their situation, as well. Rather than publishing academic work, these employees are tasked with producing reports critical to their continued operations. And as anyone who has worked in student financial aid for even just a few years will vouch, the number of reports they’re running has become a veritable deluge.

In the olden days—prior to April 2011—reconciling financial information at Hofstra University’s Continuing Education division was labor-intensive and time-consuming.
Today, the system is streamlined and general ledger reconciliation is seamless, thanks to Higher Reach by Jenzabar, a leading continuing education software platform.

If you still watch TV with commercials, you may have seen an ad recently talking about using data to improve your business—the bakery that mined its sales data to discover that people buy more cake on rainy days, for example. Everybody’s talking about “big data” and “data science,” basically applying sophisticated analytic techniques to large datasets. And one of the things they’re doing is predictive modeling—using historical data to make predictions about the future.

Jack Gochenaur was hearing scary stories around campus. Some financial aid students didn't know whether they'd received loans or grants to pay for their education. Many had no idea what they'd need to earn to meet their monthly loan payments.

"I have students who reach their senior year and during exit counseling, it's the first time they know how much money they owe," said Gochenaur, Chief Financial Officer/Treasurer of Manchester College, a 1,300-student liberal arts college in North Manchester, Indiana.

Something, he realized, had to change.

A common objective for business schools across the country is development of leadership skills. For this reason, MBA programs utilize team-based assignments, incorporate leader development in the core curriculum, and include a plethora of leadership and service opportunities in co-curricular offerings.

Michigan means business when it comes to going after student loan defaulters. Michigan college students graduate with a slightly higher debt than the national average, and about one in 10 Michigan student loans winds up in default—on par with the national average. However, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit has been far more aggressive in pursuing defaulters than in other states.

As college acceptance letters began popping up in mailboxes across the country this year, incoming students were left once again with the daunting task of choosing the right school. While cost has always been a consideration, more students than ever before are now considering it as a key factor—not only in terms of which school to attend, but whether they go to college at all.

Unless you live in a cave, you’ve seen the alarming headlines highlighting “exploding” college costs and “crushing” student loan debt. Because the media is trying to grab readers’ attention, these articles often use the most startling cases of these serious problems without providing context needed to fully understand the complexity of these issues. A simple internet search reveals the prevalence of these types of articles. Here are just a few recent headlines:

In the midst of the debate in Congress over whether or not to double interest rates on Federal student loans in July comes another hot-button aid issue—states are running out of aid money altogether. At the end of March, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) announced it would need to suspend making Monetary Award Program (MAP) awards for FAFSAs filed on or after March 14.

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