Financial Aid Assessment Plan

MISSION STATEMENT: 

We assist certificate and degree-seeking students obtain financial assistance from a variety of sources to meet their COCC educational expenses. 


GOALS LEARNING OUTCOMES MEASUREMENT TOOLS & TIMELINES
Goal 1.  Interact with students with compassion, care and professionalism. 1.1  Students will articulate that they are satisfied or very satisfied with the service they receive from the Financial Aid Office.  Graduate Survey (Fall) (6.m. Satisfaction)
Goal 2.  Inform students of up-to-date financial aid resources as well as the policies and processes necessary to obtain them. 2.1  Current certificate and degree-seeking students will be able to name important financial aid applications, such as the FAFSA, OSAC Scholarships and COCC Foundation Scholarships. Focus Groups
Goal 3.  Assist students with aid applications, loan requests and benefit certifications. 3.1  Students will be able to recognize the FA Advisor as a source of assistance. Every three-year CCSSE (9.f. & 13.g.)

3.2  Sixty percent of CDS students will implement their knowledge of the application process by applying for the aid through the FAFSA Annual Internal Data & SEM Reporting
3.3  Students will be able to meet or speak with a financial aid advisor or specialist on the same day of the request to get assistance with aid applications, loan requests or benefit certifications. Daily Internal Tracking with Monthly Evaluation
Goal 4.  Process aid applications, loan requests and benefits certifications in a timely and accurate manner. 4.1  Aid applicants selected for File Review will have their file reviewed within two weeks of submitting all documents required Weekly Internal Report with Monthly Evaluation
Goal 5.  Ensure the College meets regulatory requirements necessary to participate in federal and state programs. 5.1  All FA staff will be able to explain financial aid regulations that affect student and school eligibility for Title IV funds. Annual Appraisal
5.2  The department will remain in compliance in its annual audit Annual Audit

 

Financial Aid: Summary of Assessment Findings & Actions Taken

Summary of Assessment Findings

COCC 2010-11 Graduate Survey results indicate that student satisfaction with financial aid services is declining. In 2007-08, 6 % of respondents indicated they were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied; in 2008-09, 6.8%; in 2010-11, 7.3%. However, 94.3% indicated that they "agree" or "strongly agree" that the financial aid staff were professional in their interactions with students (learning outcome 1.1).

Statewide CCSSE data indicate that 13%of all respondents were not satisfied with financial aid advising services; at COCC, 14.5% of students were not satisfied. However, in terms of providing adequate financial support, only 23% of COCC students indicated that COCC did not provide enough financial assistance, while 27.1% did so statewide (learning outcome 2.1 and 3.1).

During the past several years, COCC's Financial Aid volume (like many across the country), has increased significantly (learning outcome 3.2): 

Year

Number of Students
Applying for Aid

Number of Students
Receiving Aid

Amount of
Aid Awarded

2006-07

4,104

1,810

$9,416,561

2007-08

4,426

2,344

$12,957,770

2008-09

6,697

3,432

$22,341,121

2009-10

9,669

4.985

$39,288,491

2010-11

11,482

5,895

$48,091,044


Currently, students receive general financial aid support from COCC's front line/one-stop staff and more in-depth, specialized staff as needed. However, students who need to meet with a financial aid advisor for more complex situations, average wait time is approximately two days (learning outcome 3.3).

COCC's Financial Aid Office has set an internal goal of notifying students of their financial aid award within two weeks of receiving all required documents. During 2010-11, the processing time ranged from three to eight weeks depending on the time of the year (learning outcome 4.1).

As part of the annual staff performance evaluation process, the Financial Aid Director reviews staff knowledge of financial aid regulations as they pertain to that individual's specific responsibilities. Based on 2010-11 evaluation, all staff is able to explain and implement these regulations in line with Director-level expectations (learning outcome 5.1).

COCC staff conduct an internal of compliance with federal financial aid regulations, as well as contracts with an outside agency for the College's overall fiscal audit. COCC's Financial Aid Office did not receive any findings based on these two reviews (learning outcome 5.2).

 

Summary of Actions Taken

COCC's Financial Aid Office has developed a weekly and monthly tracking system to monitor customer service and processing needs. This report includes: 

  • Weekly Telephone Volume 
  • Email Response Time 
  • ISIR's Received 
  • Students Awarded Aid 
  • Students Paid Aid 
  • Files Selected for Verification 
  • Files Verified 
  • Number of Independent Students 
  • Number of Students with Pell Grants 
  • Active Loans 
  • Students Without Need
  • Number of Students in Each SAP Status

Having this information in an easily accessible, routinely update format allows staff to make just-in-time adjustments to daily customer service and processing needs and have longitudinal data to better predict demand.

In addition to this internal tracking system, and in response to CCSSE and Graduate Survey data, the Financial Aid Office is shifting its focus from maintaining faster processing times to a stronger focus on customer service interaction. In support of this direction, the Department has adjusted staffing to meet student demand during peak times and increase customer service needs. Recognizing the delicate balance between service and processing time, the Department has also hired part-time/hourly staff to support more efficient processing times.

The Financial Aid department has expanded outreach activities and redesigned communications to increase the number of students applying for and receiving aid and implemented new technologies to insure efficient and timely awarding of financial aid dollars. Specific activities include: 

  • COCC's Financial Aid Advisor has expanded financial aid outreach activities to include classroom visits, group workshops and individual appointments. The College also participates in statewide initiatives such as College Goal Oregon and College Night in Oregon. 
  • With the help of the Information Technology Services Department, the FA Office has taken advantage of current and new technologies to become more efficient in reviewing, awarding and delivering financial aid.
  • Improved Communications: Improved communications, both in terms of type and frequency, has resulted in better response rates, as well as allowed staff to create customized "promotional" campaigns encouraging students to apply early.
Assessment Work In Development

The Student Services Division is currently reviewing the best methods to solicit feedback on division-wide needs, albeit through the SENSE Survey (scheduled to be administered at COCC for the first time in fall 2012), a Student Services-specific survey or Student Services-specific focus group. This will allow the Division to holistically evaluate progress towards individual department outcomes, without inundating students with multiple surveys or requests for information. For the Financial Aid Department, this will specifically help with outcome 2.1.

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