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UMF Peer Financial Assistance Program Maine Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (MASFAA) Northport, Maine Monday, October 20, 2014 Ron.

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Presentation on theme: "UMF Peer Financial Assistance Program Maine Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (MASFAA) Northport, Maine Monday, October 20, 2014 Ron."— Presentation transcript:

1 UMF Peer Financial Assistance Program Maine Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (MASFAA) Northport, Maine Monday, October 20, 2014 Ron Milliken, Director of Financial Aid, University of Maine at Farmington Zachary Faulkner and Siiri Stinson, Student Peer Financial Assistants (PFAs)

2 WELCOME AND INTRODUCTIONS We’re happy to be here at MASFAA!

3 Introductions Siiri Stinson, UMF Peer Financial Assistant Zach Faulkner, UMF Peer Financial Assistant Ron Milliken, UMF Director of Financial Aid (207) 778-7105

4 UMF’s Peer Financial Assistance Program in Three Parts Part 1: Program Overview Part 2: Illustrations Part 3: Questions and Answers

5 Part 1: Program Overview Origins/history/rationale Purpose Scope Funding Structure and staffing Training and support Composition Scheduling Marketing Evaluation and sustainability

6 Origins and history: climate change in post-secondary education Student loan indebtedness climbing Cost barriers to college mounting Increasingly competitive job market Growing interest in Return on Investment (ROI) Value proposition about college challenged Need for workforce expertise and increased skill levels Growth in technology and automation changing the work game Emphasis on self-service Information overload Fewer opportunities for high touch and personal attention

7 Origins/history/rationale: Structural gap in financial education has been created With shrinking staffs and reduced budgets, opportunities for cost-effective solutions needed While informational resources are plentiful and inexpensive, delivery and engagement remain challenging – especially labor costs in education Financial aid practitioners and others face increased demands in processing, compliance, and widespread pressures related to enrollment and revenue Paradigm shift from student access with need-based aid to leveraging aid for net tuition revenue and institutional economic sustainability Personalized service and financial education have suffered as well as capacity to meet financial need

8 Purposes: Patchwork and focused solutions Prevent and mitigate student loan default rates (8.9% nationally for public four-year + schools) Require entrance loan counseling prior to disbursement Require exit loan counseling for students upon exit Restrict options and loan availability selectively to mitigate default Mandate disclosures from institutions and lenders

9 Purpose/s: Complement and strengthen existing efforts Launch new initiative Mobilize available resources in face of large-scale problems and challenges Make help accessible Engage students and others who can benefit

10 Purpose/s of Peer Education Program: advance financial literacy for students Help educate students about impact of everyday financial choices and the effects on path toward academic success Increase student knowledge and skills with financial education Teach students to become economically self-sufficient and to become masters their own financial destiny

11 Purpose/s: What’s in a name? what are you trying to achieve Peer advisers Peer advocates Peer educators Peer facilitators Peer helpers Peer mentors Peer financial assistants Peer tutors Peer ambassadors

12 Scope: Limited and complementary Start small (UMF recruited 6 students) with a pilot project Build your own collateral customized to your students needs Deploy resources available from external powerhouses of talent: FAME, ASA- SALT, College Board, financial institutions, etc. Collaborate across campuses and the profession as much as you can

13 Funding: various points and considerations Low-cost, high-impact Seek internal budget support and absorb costs where you can Capitalize upon in-house expertise with faculty and staff and institutional resources (library, information technology, curricular resources, marketing, public relations) UMF also needed outside funding to pilot and launch Build on collaborative opportunities FAME ASA - SALT Jumpstart MELMAC Seek external funding, partnerships, and collaborative support Greenhouse Grant via The College Board Maine College Access Challenge Grant (MCACG) via FAME Literacy Counts via Higher One

14 Structure and staffing: administrative and student work UMF anchored its program in financial aid Financial aid counselor position was hired for pilot with singular focus on this program Transition challenging with loss of position Peer financial assistants recruited, hired, trained, and supervised by Financial Aid Office. Try to retain emphasis on student leadership and skill development opportunities for peer financial assistants while serving students. Keep the program student-centered at the core Strive for balanced staffing composition and diversity, but weight with upperclass students as necessary

15 Training and Support Training is critical – peer financial assistants need to function as para- professionals Peer financial assistants can piggy-back some training with SALT programs as ambassadors Confidentiality and professionalism are crucial Regular meetings and feedback are essential Enlist other staff members and use financial aid meetings and other staff meetings as staging grounds for programs to help provide oversight and feedback

16 Marketing: internal and external UMF has used a variety of approaches Initiate contact with selected faculty Use high visibility, high traffic areas with continuous short videos, tabling, posters Do press releases in conjunction with public relations office Use public relations staff for editorial or television exposure as educational and promotional opportunity Use, but don’t overuse, email Inform other departments such as Admission Office, Student Life, Orientation planners, etc.

17 Evaluation and sustainability Collect data whenever possible about how many are being served and how. [ It all matters: FAFSA filing data, default rates, yield rates, paid accounts, graduation data] Survey students periodically to gauge interest, needs, effectiveness Compile it and review it at least annually Include information in annual reports, special advisories, campus meetings, etc. Sustainability is an on-going challenge

18 Part 2: Illustrations and Examples of Projects SALT promotional tabling Admission Open Houses/Visitation Days Orientation Blogging Classroom visits Root beer float nights with featured financial education topics Host speakers on special financial interest topics One-on-one assistance (e.g., using PIN to access NSLDS, setting up account)

19 Illustrations: Outreach College on the Horizon: What college seeking high school students should consider (Brewer High School) College, the Workforce, and Everything In Between (Upper Kennebec Valley High School) Shopping for the Right College and Keeping it Affordable (Dirigo High School)

20 Illustrations and Examples Zach – videos SALT promotional short Financial aid overview for students Repayment Student employment Siiri – presentations loan forgiveness options

21 Part 3: Questions and Answers Lessons learned Who benefits? What are the liabilities and downsides? Piecemeal and fragmented vs. nothing? etc


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