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To improve the student experience on campus and to implement best practices in financial aid administration.
Dr. Vinita Sauder, president of Union College–a private, liberal arts school, contacted Blue Icon Advisors expressing strong concerns about several bottlenecks they were experiencing, including financial aid processing and verification, which were hindering their ability to offer stellar service to students and to meet their enrollment management goals.
To gauge perceptions on the bottlenecks, Blue Icon developed and administered an online staff survey. A Blue Icon consultant then traveled to the school to meet in-person with financial aid staff, members of the college community, and the president. During the 3-day visit, the consultant identified specific areas for improvement, including: verification, processing, the physical space, technology, operations, student employees and staff, and customer service. At the end of the three days, while still on campus, the consultant shared these observations as an action plan in a PowerPoint presentation to the entire leadership team. A customer service training session – with a strong focus on enrollment management – was held for staff and others.
The president, who was very pleased with the engagement, stated: "Having the Blue Icon consultant come to our campus to observe our processes, talk with our staff, and offer an action plan in such a short time frame was exactly what we needed." The day after the Blue Icon consultant left campus, the president held a staff retreat to discuss and/or implement each item outlined in the action plan. Over the next few months, the staff implemented recommended changes to the verification process. As a result, verification backlog was decreased by 66% when compared to fall 2018.