Student Speak Survey Results
The Office of Financial Aid has a continued commitment to providing quality student services. We appreciate and encourage student feedback. We appreciate and encourage student feedback. One way in which we’ve gained such data is through the Student Speak Survey. This survey was originally given to students in the Fall term of 2009. In February of 2010 and 2011, the office received the results and gave an initial response to the campus. Please click on the drop down tabs to read the results and our continued goals.
The Office of Financial Aid is committed to working on key areas for improvement, alongside recognizing the successes of our team. Below a few of our successes are outlined in relation to one another based on the 2010 Student Speak Survey.
Students’ general feedback is that the Office of Financial Aid is friendly and polite to students and offers genuine care and concern for the situation at hand. This explains why 81% of students who responded to the survey indicated that this office “treated me with respect.” For first year students, this percentage is even higher, at 92%. This speaks to the next point made by several students: the Office of Financial Aid has made drastic improvements over the past several years. This office has gone several staff and structural changes and hope that the students who have experiences a wide range of these services will graduate feeling happier with our office than when they first entered IIT as a freshman.
The survey also indicated that our staff is good at troubleshooting. This seemed to be the case, whether or not a student was impressed with their first interaction with our office. Regardless of whether the question was answered right away or the student had to wait, students feel our staff adequately can handle tough situations and find resolution.
Finally, several students left positive feedback regarding our Financial Literacy web materials. In the Spring of 2010, our office launched a financial literacy program, beginning with the web, to better provide financial resources for students. This year, we have expanded this programming into live sessions on specific financial topics. We hope to continue excelling in all of the areas listed above and add even further success in our future.
Key Area of Need:
Goal to Achieve Improvement and Implementation:
|•External scholarship resources||The Office of Financial Aid has greatly expanded the outside scholarship resources made available to IIT students since the start of 2011. These resources are made available on the IIT Financial Aid website. Additionally, a scholarship channel was created on the Finances tab in the MyIIT portal. Finally, we have gained access to several outside scholarship books that students can search through in our office. We have dedicated staff time to expanding these resources to meet student demand and will continue to do so in the coming year.|
|• The Financial Aid website needs clarity, directedness and more specific information|| |
The Office of Financial Aid has revamped the website throughout the 2010-2011 academic year to make information more direct and accessible. By creating more direct links on the left-hand side of our home page, we hope students and families will be able to find information with more ease. Additionally, we now are updating the home page more often as issues arise so the website can serve as an up-to-date tool for students as information changes (on the federal, state or institutional level). Again, we have committed staff time directly to web maintenance and plan to continue making improvements in the coming year. .
|• Faster processing times and less technical issues for direct loan processing|| |
In the spring of 2010, Congress passed legislation mandating that all schools participating in federal student aid loan programs transition to the Direct Lending program administered by the Department of Education effective for the 2010-11 academic year. Previously, IIT had been using the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program, which processed federal student loans using private lenders. The transition to Direct Lending caused many technical kinks, some anticipated and others not. While the Office of Financial Aid understands the frustrations of working through a system transition, we greatly appreciate students’ patience and understanding. We do not anticipate such delays or issues again for the 2011-12 academic year. If any changes or issues arise on our end, we are committed to contacting students promptly to provide clarity and ensure ease of processing.
|• Timely response for phone and email messages|| |
Providing faster response times is of the utmost importance to our office and a continued goal we strive to achieve. As you will notice, the 2009 Student Speak Survey write-up and our 2010 reassessment of 2009 goals included faster responses times as well. Our office aims to provide email feedback within 24 hours as a default and 48 hours during high traffic times. Our staff has begun utilizing the email bounce back system in Outlook to better notify students when a response will take up to 48 hours. Phone calls should be returned within 24 hours regardless of office traffic. Our staff is ready and available to help so if you are having trouble getting a hold of us, please notify us so we can address the issue, whether it be staffing, technical or otherwise.
|• Furthered communication with Bursar’s Office and other campus offices|| |
The Office of Financial Aid and the Office of the Bursar are committed to continued communication and improved processes that impact both offices. As mentioned in the 2010 Student Speak Reassessment, the Office the Bursar, Registrar and Undergraduate Academic Affairs are now meeting weekly through the Student Success Committee. By working together, these offices have been able to tackle student situations from all perspectives, without giving the students the run around. Additional offices, like Housing and Residential Services and the Counseling Center, will also be participating as needed or at key times of the academic year.
Outside of this committee, the Financial Aid Office and the Bursar’s Office have also streamlined issues that impact both offices and have further customer service training planned for later this spring. The Office of Financial Aid plans to do this type of cross-training with many campus offices as part of our continuing efforts to improve our customer service.
|• Uncertainty over financial aid requirements|| |
The Office of Financial Aid has and continues to send bi-weekly notification of outstanding documents to students. If there is any confusion over what is needed, our staff is always willing to help. Additionally, if students have suggestions for how to improve this communication, they can contact our office at firstname.lastname@example.org, ATTN: Elizabeth Wahlstrom Helgren.
Financial aid documents are not requested until our office has received a FAFSA for the upcoming academic year and knows which documents the Department of Education is requesting. We aim to provide this information as quickly as possible and will continue to analyze his process for future improvements in the coming year.
|• Delays in getting the “right” person to answer your question||The Office of Financial Aid understands it is frustrating to have to wait on someone for follow-up details. We may not always be able to prevent this but we have taken several measures to ensure that knowledge is spread over more staff members. We have implemented monthly group training sessions to share information and obtain an improved understanding of specific processes. Individual training sessions have also been held and will continue to be held as our office team grows and evolves. Our front desk counselors have also received advanced training which will allow for students to receive more specific answers to their questions upon arrival to our office. Finally, we are in the process of creating a system to better handle walk-in students. Appointments are always good for student and staff member to prepare the necessary details, but we understand that a busy student life may not always provide such planning opportunities. Regardless of who is able to help you, we hope that you are provided with the correct answer as fast as possible.|
|• Continued improvement on the timed response to emails and phone calls from students and families. Goal for slower winter months for emails is 24 hours and the same day for phone calls.||Staff monitors progress with formal updates at weekly staff meetings and informally with each other everyday.|
|• Taking feedback from students, parents, partner offices and staff members, has led to a redesign effort for all print, web and email materials.||Currently, staff is conducting research on external websites to find what works best for other financial aid offices. The redesign effort goal is for a user friendly website with straightforward, accurate information. The Office of Marketing and Communications at IIT is supporting the office and providing materials for this change. |
Print and email materials are being rewritten each year and in an effort to be consistent with web updates, these materials will also be undergoing redesign for a professional, consistent look for the office.
|• A review of current business practices will be conducted in an effort to provide clear information about the disbursement of student federal and state aid, and clear maps regarding the funding process. |
• A weekly “Money Matters” column in TechNews will be created to notify students about deadlines from the Office of Financial Aid.
|Aside from updating web, print and email materials, the office is conducting a continued assessment for disbursement practices with partner offices, specifically the Bursar’s Office. The office aims to provide quality service for students to receive aid, buy books and attend class, while staying within the federal regulations for compliance. |
After some delay, we have mapped this column, relevant topics and writers to service TechNews readers.
A new financial aid literacy section to the Office of Financial Aid website is complete. The office is looking for ways to expand programming to campus this spring, coordinating with other offices and offering workshops on specific literacy topics as well.
|• Monthly staff development and training sessions will be held to advance the skills and knowledge levels of the financial aid counselors in working with students and parents. The goal is to receive a 90 percent or better rating.||With a growing staff, the office has identified key training areas for individuals and office-wide. A monthly Lunch and Learn session was created to cross-train employees. Individual staff members have set professional goals and are attending external professional training in those areas. Individuals are also meeting for personalized training in the office. External web resources have been provided as well to help staff understand and comply with federal regulations and policies. |
The goal for the office is to be able to provide better customer service on many levels. Service ratings are discussed bi-weekly at staff meetings. In January 2011, the office will also receive internal customer service training to enhance quality service.
|• Business practices and coordination meetings will be held with the following offices: Bursar, Academic Affairs, Graduate College, Registrar, Accounting, Housing, and Admission. |
• A “warm transfer” among and between offices will be ensured, and the department will adopt an “own the issue” mindset in order to follow and track the issue until it is resolved.
• Business processes will be reviewed to ensure that all changes and options for changes to a student’s account are being addressed to the student proactively. All proposed changes will be presented in a timely manner, being mindful of the student’s academic calendar and obligations as needed.
|Partner office communication has greatly improved. Meetings between the Bursar’s Office, Academic Affairs and the Registrar happen frequently through the Student Success Committee. The office aims to work with these partner offices to get the whole picture of what a student is facing and support them on an individual level while being mindful of academic commitments. |
The Office of Financial Aid aims to continue these efforts with Housing and Graduate Offices in coming months in the areas of affordability, scholarship ease and student notification.
Specifically, we have identified graduate and professional students as a targeted group for improved service. We will work with the graduate and professional departments as well as Dr. Cinar and Segre to ensure that we are providing the highest levels of service.
|• An operational and business process review will be completed by March 31, 2010.||We completed a follow-up review to the Standard of Excellence Review and will introduce new organizational improvements which will better serve our students and improve operational efficiency. |
A new Communications Strategy has been created to supplement the operational calendar and business plan.
The first Student Speak Survey was given to students in the fall of 2009. Below are the results for the Office of Financial Aid. The office identified key actions and ways to implement these goals. They key issues raised are listed below with the action and implementation at the bottom.
- Response time for emails is slow
- Inaccurate information
- Processing/release of aid could be more timely
- Notifications not proactive
- Need for better advice/counsel
- Need better interdepartmental coordination
|• All student emails will receive a response within two business days, with the goal of returning replies within one business day or the same day.||Staff monitors and reports daily on progress; response times are now – with the rare exception – within 24-48 hours; many within hours|
|• A complete review of print, website, and email communications will be conducted to determine accuracy. The goal is to ensure that all materials are promptly updated as changes occur. |
Individual students will be notified when changes that affect their financial aid package are made.
|All items are reviewed monthly.|
|• A review of current business practices will be conducted in an effort to provide clear information about the disbursement of student federal and state aid, and clear maps regarding the funding process.||Ongoing; these meetings have led to collaborative work with the Bursar, Registrar, and Office of Financial Aid during the start of the new school year. |
In addition, a new Student Success Committee meets regularly to discuss students with significant balances to ensure that the best possible decisions are being made for the students and the university.
|• Business processes will be reviewed to ensure that all changes and options for changes to a student’s account are being addressed to the student proactively. All proposed changes will be presented in a timely manner, being mindful of the student’s academic calendar and obligations as needed.||Ongoing; changes have led to the introduction of new financial aid calendar for enrolling and continuing students.|
|• A weekly “Money Matters” column in TechNews will be created to notify students about deadlines from the Office of Financial Aid.||Introduced in Spring 2010 with much good feedback. |
A new financial aid literacy section to the Office of Financial Aid website is complete.
|• Monthly staff development and training sessions will be held to advance the skills and knowledge levels of the financial aid counselors in working with students and parents. The goal is to receive a 90 percent or better rating.|
|• Business practices and coordination meetings will be held with the following offices: Bursar, Academic Affairs, Graduate College, Registrar, Accounting, Housing, and Admission.||Ongoing. |
Meetings have introduced new practices including improved presentations at Orientation.
|• An operational and business process review will be completed by March 31, 2010.||Ongoing. |
The first review contributed to the reorganization of responsibilities and assignments to ensure greater counselor time for meetings with students and their families.
|• A “warm transfer” among and between offices will be ensured, and the department will adopt an “own the issue” mind set in order to follow and track the issue until it is resolved.||Ongoing. |
In addition to adopting an “owning the issue” mind set, we are proactively working with colleagues across the university to request feedback on how we’re doing along the lines of a warm transfer.