University Business - September 2012 - (Page 84)

CAmpus FINANCE Oceans he maxim “publish or perish” may be associated with the way faculty operate, but financial aid office administrators would likely agree it describes their situation, as well. Rather than publishing academic work, these employees are tasked with producing reports critical to their continued operations. And as anyone who has worked in student financial aid for even just a few years will vouch, the number of reports they’re running has become a veritable deluge. In this era of tight budgets and rising tuition costs, part of the reporting frenzy is driven by a need for greater accountability, management, and transparency. But a certain amount of this activity is being propelled by software that makes it possible to generate ever more exacting reports. Just ask Carolyn Jones, financial aid technical coordinator for Collin County Community College (Texas). Jones has been in financial aid for 17 years and in her current position for about 12. She runs every single financial aid program for the entire college, which has three campuses, and uses Banner. By Pamela Mills-Senn f Data Financial aid offices are drowning in a sea of reports, but the right tools and strategies can throw them a life raft. T “We’re running more and more reports,” says Jones, who works out of the McKinney campus. “Anytime you get a more complicated software system capable of generating lots of data, you end up running more reports, and you have to write even more reports to make sure everything is correct. “There’s also a huge amount of work that’s technical that used to be with the programmers,” she continues. “But now this is with the financial aid offices because of software changes.” Not only have reporting demands escalated, but at the same time, the college is dealing with the same issues facing most institutions of higher education, community colleges in particular— increased enrollment sparked in part by the economy and people seeking retraining. Also as is typical, staffing hasn’t expanded at the pace enrollment has. Ad hoc requests are an additional challenge, says Dean Kulju, director of student financial aid services and programs for the 23-campus California State University. Systemwide, CSU distributes $3.1 billion in financial aid to more than 280,000 students. 84 | September 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of University Business - September 2012

University Business - September 2012
Editor’s Note
College Index
Ad Index
Behind the News
Independent Outlook
Financial Aid
Virtual Viewbooks: Ready? Or Not?
Technology Changes Everything
Connecting Learners, On Campus and Off
The Changing Face of the CIO
Efficiency Greats
The Administrator's Bookshelf
Oceans of Data
Education Innovators
Internet Technology
End Note

University Business - September 2012