“If I attend UNC, what Financial Aid package will I receive?” It’s a question that’s always remained unanswered for students and their families for a week, month or more after they receive their admission offer.
That’s about to change, thanks to a process improvement project. ITS Enterprise Applications and the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid are scheduled to go live with their Financial Aid Process Improvement Project on December 3.
Earlier financial aid packages
Led by project manager Gina Fogelsonger of Enterprise Applications, this project will provide an earlier financial aid package to Carolina applicants and students. The success of this project is the culmination of outstanding teamwork by more than two dozen individuals across the Office of Scholarship and Financial Aid and ITS Enterprise Applications teams as well as team members from Admissions to ensure the entire process is accounted for.
One of the primary objectives of the project is to make financial aid package information available to prospective students at the same time as they are offered admission. An equally important objective is to automate the processes for packaging financial aid as much as possible.
Getting information for prospective students earlier, combined with automating routine work, will give the Enrollment and Scholarships and Student Aid staff members more time to focus on their core mission: to help advise students and families so they can have a full Carolina experience and successfully complete graduation.
Transformative tech project
“I think this will be one of the most important and transformative technology projects, affecting students and student aid, that we have done,” said Rachelle Feldman, Interim Vice Provost of Enrollment and Undergraduate Admissions and Associate Provost for Scholarships and Student Aid. “The process improvements will allow our staff to focus on issues that are more complex and require human expertise and empathy, rather than performing rote and repetitive work that the system can accomplish with a high degree of accuracy. This will lead to both a better student experience and more job satisfaction for staff.”
Also, Feldman said, “there has been added value in having additional staff in ITS understand the functional complexity, issues and requirements for administering scholarships and financial aid. I expect we will find more ways to use the automation created here to improve service and provide flexible and creative support over the coming years, as we continue our partnership with ITS.”
Automation and efficiencies
Among the time-saving new processes either now available or will be shortly available are:
- Show financial aid information to students with their offer of admission
- Automate the steps required for preparation, budgeting, and packaging financial aid
- Make information more easily available in ConnectCarolina for financial aid processors
- Automate Re-Budgeting and Re-Packaging steps
- Leverage National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) data to inform re-packaging and ensure appropriate limits are not exceeded