A Collaborative Approach to Data Sharing: Financial Aid, Development, and Academic Success Initiatives

By Hugh T. Ferguson, NASFAA Managing Editor

Shannon Amundson, Director of Financial Aid at Colorado College

Anthony P. Jones, Executive Director, Financial Aid & Scholarships at University of Utah
Thomas Chase Hagood, Senior Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at University of Utah
Lindsay Nelson, Senior Advancement Director at University of Utah

Getting a handle on the guidelines for data sharing concerning student records has varying degrees of complexity, where institutions not only have to develop internal guidelines but also be in compliance with the Department of Education's (ED) regulatory guidelines.

During a breakout session on Monday, attendees were able to review one the University of Utah's collaborative approach to need-based scholarship administration. 

Speakers detailed how financial aid and scholarship experts developed processes that balance data privacy compliance to help bolster student persistence and completion.

At the University of Utah, Anthony Jones, who serves as the executive director of scholarships and financial aid, and Lindsay Nelson, the senior advancement director for the student support initiatives team, detailed the coordination within the institution that has led to a shared memorandum of understanding, student consent process, and ways renewal eligibility reviews were restructured to bolster equity, consistency, and holistic student success.

Nelson shared institutional fundraising efforts and how they garner consent from students to help provide donors with the clearest narrative as to how their funds are changing the lives of students. Some students decide to share their personal stories with donors while others are comfortable with anonymous quotes, and the institution can work on developing their stories in ways that respect the student's requests.

Whatever information is shared allows the office to develop a clear narrative for the donor, and always honor the student so they're comfortable with what they're sharing.

As a Pell Grant recipient, Nelson was very familiar with the aid process and as a part of other scholarships she received was asked to write a letter and attend a luncheon with a donor, which helped her personalize her higher education story.

Jones then dug into the consent process and the varying processes and procedures the University of Utah developed to comply with student privacy, ensure they reach out to students in need, and how schools can go about the varying restrictions placed on students' FAFSA data and how his institution is setting out to determine eligibility for new scholarship platforms. 


Publication Date: 6/27/2022

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