ASU improving financial aid communication

ASU improving financial aid communication
One of the educational videos on the ASU Rams website to help future and current students along with parents navigate the financial aid process. (Source: WALB)
Dr. Chip Reese, Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management at ASU (Source: WALB)
Dr. Chip Reese, Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management at ASU (Source: WALB)
Reese said more than 80% of students at ASU utilize financial aid (Source: WALB)
Reese said more than 80% of students at ASU utilize financial aid (Source: WALB)
Students walk near the dorms on ASU East campus (Source: WALB)
Students walk near the dorms on ASU East campus (Source: WALB)

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Albany State University financial aid leaders are encouraging students to file their financial aid now, because more than 80% of students utilize financial aid at ASU.

Deadlines for the summer and even this fall are are approaching fast, according to the Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, Dr. Chip Reese.

"We do this every day, but again, some of these people-- this is the first time they've ever done it," explained Reese.

Reese said the majority of students on financial aid are students between 18 and 21 years old, making up about 55% of students.

Students must re-submit a new "Free Application for Federal Student Aid" or FAFSA every year.

Now Reese said he and other campus leaders are listening to students and parents to make sure information is easily accessible, consistent and communicated.

"We're working to try to get people, again, information to them up front, encouraging them to go ahead and file their FAFSA now for next year. The sooner they get filed the sooner we can get their paperwork processed," said Reese.

Reese said the financial aid process is the same at ASU as it is anywhere else.

"We've worked very, very hard at communication. With getting out there with those individual students," said Reese.

Future and current students alike, as well as, parents are able to access videos on ASU's website to help explain the FAFSA process.

Reese also explained he and other leaders are working to ensure information is consistent and streamlined across all communication platforms.

"We want to make sure that that information is solid and that it's consistent and the best way to do that is starting from day one, when our recruiters are talking to a prospective student, we are pushing them to our website. As they're coming in for orientation, we're pushing them again to our website," explained Reese.

Financial aid support is even setting up tables at basketball games as well as talking with faculty to get the word out to students now.

"The biggest part of that concern is just communicating the process. Getting the dates out there. Getting the information out there," explained Reese, "So we're working very, very hard to make sure every step along the way from when we start recruiting students, we start talking financial aid now."

In the past, students have voiced concern about the school listing in-state students, as out-of-state students and saying students live in on-campus housing when they live off campus.

"Having wrong information in the database again, that's not a problem unique to Albany State, trying to get your database correct is something everyone has to work with. So we're making sure that our software is talking to one another, working with our IT Department to try to overcome some of those areas and I think we've done a pretty good job with it."

He says it starts with the students making sure they fill out correct information and completing paperwork for the summer and fall deadlines on time if not early, so students don't rush.

For those enrolling in summer classes, the deadline is April 1st.  Anyone applying for financial aid for the upcoming fall must submit all paperwork by July 1st.

Copyright 2018 WALB. All rights reserved.