University Business - March 2007 - (Page 37)

Warning : session_start : The session id contains invalid characters, valid characters are only a-z, A-Z and 0-9 in /mnt/data/ on line 9 Warning : session_start : Cannot send session cache limiter - headers already sent output started at /mnt/data/ in /mnt/data/ on line 9 Warning : Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by output started at /mnt/data/ in /mnt/data/ on line 10 MONEY M AT T E R S Financial Aid Appeal Pitfalls Here are five common mistakes made by Admissions and Financial Aid offices during the appeals process—and why they should be avoided. By Kathy Kurz, Jim Scannell, and Samantha Veeder I T ’ S W E L L U N D E R WAY AT college and university Financial Aid offices—“packaging season.” For financial aid administrators, particula rly at four-year institutions, February through May is the busiest time of the year. And, after packaging that is, the process of determining and creating individua l financial aid awards for admitted students slows down, the “appeals” process begins. Fina ncia l aid appeals requests from parents and/or students to offer addit iona l financial aid, particularly grant funds may or may not play a valuable role in meeting new student enrollment goals. However, appeals are both time consuming and time sensitive. Managed incorrectly, they can lead to unnecessary financial aid expenditures with no additional enrollment—thus exceeding the established budget, increasing the discount rate, and lowering net tuition revenue, even if enrollments increase. Clearly, leadership in both Admissions and Financial Aid should be involved in the process in order to provide a balanced approach to meeting all institutional goals, including not only the size of the class, but other critical attributes—for exa mple, quality, diversity, and net tuition revenue. Given the dicey nature of this business, here are some of the more common pitfalls that should be avoided while processing financial aid appeals. 1. Low-balling the original financial aid of fer. While the notion of sending a low initial financial aid offer and waiting to Colleges are not car dealerships; most aid officers cringe at the mere thought of negotiation. see if the family appeals is tempting, this practice is risky and not recommended. Some families are sophisticated and/or determined enough to contact the Financial Aid office and request additional financia l assistance. Others, however, may be so deterred by an unaffordable offer that they mentally move on to the next more feasible option. Instead of saving the institution financial aid, this policy may lead to lost enrollments and ultimately lost net tuition revenue. Ideally, the best financial aid offer should be presented either at the time of acceptance or immediately after. 2. Having a lack of clearly defined policy. Whether your institution’s policy ranges from no consideration for appeal requests to a willingness to negotiate packages—or that policy lands somewhere in bet ween—it is critical that staff in Admissions, Financial Aid, and any other office involved in recruitment activities understa nd and can communicate the steps a family must follow in order to initiate a secondary review. Establishing the following ahead of time will be advantageous for everyone involved: a description of the appeals process; a list of the committee members who will perform the review; specific guidelines under which an adjustment will be considered; and the sources and amounts of funds available to award. General information for prospective students and their families about the appeals process may also be included in the financial aid section on the institution’s website, as well as in print materials sent along with award letters. A clearly defined policy will discoura ge frivolous requests and make the process more efficient overall. 3. Allowing negotiation vs. professional judgment. Armed with various financial aid award letters that present different out-of-pocket costs for the same student, parents often see this as an opportunity to “negotiate” a better deal by playing one school against another, as if buying a Kathy Kurz and Jim Scannell are partners in the enrollment management consulting firm Scannell & Kurz. Samantha Veeder, formerly the director of Financial Aid at Hobart and William Smith Colleges N.Y. , is the firm’s senior consultant. They can be reached via their website, March 2007 | 37 MM307.indd 1 2/21/07 12:09:00 PM Warning : Unknown : The session id contains invalid characters, valid characters are only a-z, A-Z and 0-9 in Unknown on line 0 Warning : Unknown : Failed to write session data files . Please verify that the current setting of session.save_path is correct /var/lib/php/session in Unknown on line 0

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of University Business - March 2007

College Index
Company Index
Advisory Board
Editor's Note
Stats Watch
Sense of Place
Human Resources
Financial Aid
Money Matters
Community Colleges
Title IX Turns 35
It’s Electric
Lost in Space
Transportation Trends
Details of Retail
Business Technology
What's New
Calendar of Events
Direct Connect
End Note

University Business - March 2007