The Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) has contracted with the NASFAA Standards of Excellence (SOE) Review Program to perform comprehensive evaluations of its 13 community colleges over the next four years. Each community college has its own financial aid office with unique policies and procedures, and the SOE review program will identify compliance issues, recommend best practices, and provide an action plan for improvements to each school.
"We wanted a way to evaluate all our community colleges on an individual basis, but also be able to identify trends across all schools," said Dr. Heidi Leming, TBR vice chancellor for student success. "Using the SOE review program was a perfect fit for us to achieve that goal."
TBR wanted to review the community colleges on a rotating basis, which range in size from 3,000 to 12,000 students. The first three SOE reviews will commence in spring 2020, with an additional three to four schools having the review each year through spring 2023.
"TBR is committed to ensuring the financial aid offices are able to provide the best services to our students, while staying in compliance with financial aid rules," Leming said.
While TBR will fund the cost of the review, each school must ensure its NASFAA membership is current for the review period. This will allow the participating institutions to benefit from several NASFAA tools and services, including the SOE review program. Right now, the focus will be on reviewing community colleges, but there may be an opportunity to review the 27 technical schools at a later time.
"The investment of the Tennessee Board of Regents in its community colleges system-wide is a strong model that other governing bodies can learn from," said Mandy Sponholtz, director of operations for SOE and Blue Icon Advisors. "It showcases a strong commitment to both the financial aid administrators and the students they serve."
Update: Several schools have now had SOE reviews through the multi-year contract with the Tennessee Board of Regents. Read about Motlow State Community College's SOE experience
Publication Date: 9/17/2019