Case Study: Howard Community College

Fall 2019

Goals

To have a strong, ongoing relationship with a trusted advisor; to ensure the financial aid office is compliant, efficient, and student-friendly; and to not have any surprises during the school’s annual A-133 audits or a federal program review.

Situation

The director of financial aid at Howard Community College contacted Blue Icon Advisors seeking recurring audit services. The college had previously used another external consultant to provide that function but wanted a new approach and more expertise for the work. The director was interested in audits twice per year of selected aid delivery topics, including an evaluation of documented policies and procedures, a review of publicly available information, testing of student files, and extensive interviews with college staff. 

Solution

For the first topical audit, Blue Icon Advisors worked with the director to identify the most pressing issue: Federal Direct and alternative loan program administration. Since the current loan manager was planning to retire in the near future, an audit of the school’s loan program administration would provide a strong baseline for the office. Prior to the on-site visit, the consultant reviewed documents provided by the school, including established policies and procedures, academic and financial aid calendars, an organizational chart, student facing forms and publications, and previous audits and responses. While on-site for three days, the consultant interviewed staff in the financial aid, registrar, finance, and student accounts offices; observed office operations; and tested student files for compliance. The resulting report will serve as a guide for the office to address compliance concerns and to implement best practice recommendations

Outcome

"The reaction to the audit with Blue Icon Advisors was very positive across campus. I made a presentation to the board of trustees explaining our ongoing relationship with Blue Icon and they were so pleased! The report will support and prioritize initiatives for the new leadership," commented the director of financial aid, Dawn Mosisa-Lowe. "Our second topic has already been identified for spring 2020 -- the application process and student experience."

 

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Publication Date: 2/14/2020

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