Financial Aid Office Awarded for Quality Improvement

Posted: June 6, 2000 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Hope J Smith

The Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) recently was awarded the Institutional Model of Quality Award by the U.S. Department of Education for its outstanding improvements to the quality of its service. The award was given to OSFA after careful review by its peers and professionals in the Department of Education.

OSFA began its work on improving quality in 1989 when the office signed up to participate in the Quality Assurance Program. A division of the Department of Education, the program helps participating financial aid offices regularly examine the quality of their services by providing them with a process model for developing their own continuous assessment program.

As part of this program, OSFA used data collected from surveys completed by different members of the university community and the results of an internal review to help decide what needed to be improved and how to implement the necessary improvements. Based on this information, they created weekly meetings at which counselors in the department share information, problems, and solutions with one another; established collaborative relationships between OSFA and other university offices to educate one another and share information; used technology to increase efficiency and open communication between staff members; and established a mission statement, which pledges to “provide eligible students with funds to finance and complete their education…[and to] help students become proactive consumers of educational opportunities.”

What makes OSFA unique, notes Jennifer Douglas, director of OSFA, is the office’s “commitment to serving students in a quality way” and its wonderful staff, who “live by the mission and live by quality.”

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