Searching for New Enrollment Staffing Models

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Dr. Tom Green, Associate Executive Director at AACRAO, joined the podcast to discuss the evolution of the one-stop shop admissions model and Harvard University’s plans for Kennedy School to integrate its admissions and financial aid positions.

A person could come in meet withsome and be able, in that span of time to really understand how theirprior credits could be leveraged, what the schedule of courses in their proposed programmight look like so they could balance that with family commitments, work commitments,etc. And also understand what the financial aid options might be. A you'relistening to enrollment growth university from Helix Education, the best professional development podcast for highereducation leaders looking to grow enrollment at their college or university. Whether you'relooking for fresh enrollment growth techniques and strategies or tools and resources, you've cometo the right place. Let's get into the show. Welcome back to enrollmentgrowth university, a proud member of the connect e Tou podcast network. I'mEric Olson with Helix Education and we're here today with Dr Tom Green, theseem doctor and associate executive director at acrow. Tom, welcome to the show.Thank you, Eric, nice to be here. Great to have youhere. Really excited to talk to you today about new enrollment staffing models thatwere starting to see out there in the wild. Before we dig into that, can you get the listeners a little bit of background on both acrow andyour rule there. Absolutely so acrow, you're nothing in higher education without anacronym. Stands for the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers. We'reone of the oldest and largest professional associations and higher education. We've been aroundfor a hundred ten years or more now and we have elevenzero members spread overforty two countries, but most of them are in the US and Canada.At acro I'm responsible for the professional development content for all of our members aroundstrategic enrollment management, so that concerns anything...

...within Roman strategies. Also gets intoa lot of work with financial aid, a lot of work with marketing,recruitment, retention, student success, etc. I also and the editor in chiefof our Peer Reviewed Research Journal on Sim called Sim quarterly, and Ioversee our major international conference each year across m Tom it's a perfect background forthis conversation today. EXCITED TO GIN to kick us off today. I guessI'm curious to just hear what your initial thoughts were when you heard that HarvardUniversities Kennedy School was planning to integrate their admissions and financial aid positions. Well, my initial reaction was that I'm always interested in innovation and somebody doing somethingnew. Obviously this is being done and institution of a great history and aschool of great reputation, so one might assume they've gone into this thoughtfully andthe maybe they're onto something here. I think that was also mixed with concern, and that concern is that the roles that they're describing are both highled.They're steeped in lots of information and specialties. So, for example, in orderto be a strong recruiter and do the admissions work well, you haveto spend a lot of time learning that lot of time in contact with differentpeople who looking at data, following up with students, possibly even evaluating applicationmaterials. That requires some expertise in quite a bit of time. The otherpart of its financial aid, probably requires even greater expertise and more knowledge,more specific knowledge of regulations, of the nuances of financial aid information. Andwhile this appears to be at the graduate it may also extend to the undergraduatelevel. We don't know. The graduate...

...levels a bit simpler than the undergraduatelevel and financial aid simply because you eliminate the federal and state grant programs,but even loan programs are extremely technical today and require a good deal of expertise, pritise, and it's really balancing the expertise needed between both of those thingsand trying to identify individuals that could have the capacity to manage all of thatknowledge and the work the balance of that. That gave me pause. So,that said, maybe that's it's a very innovative approach to it, butat a little concern there that they might have too high an expectation for whatone person might be able to master and manage. I think I had apretty similar approach and let's dig into the hiccups in a minute. But let'sstart on the optimistic side about or Beyonto something here. Could this be seenas in evolution of the onestop shop admissions model that most of the industry hasmoved to over the last decade, just taking that next step to be aone stop point of contact model? Yeah, in that respect I think that itcertainly could be, and and I'll tell you how I have experience withthat and where I think it really makes a lot of sense. So almostI guess would be more than twenty years ago now, I'm dating myself alittle bit. I was charged with creating a onestop center for returning adults ata private university in the Midwest and doing that work, we realize it wasreally important that a person could come in, meet with some and be able,in that span of time to really understand how their prior credits could beleveraged, what the schedule of courses in their proposed program might look like sothey could balance that with family commitments, work commitments, etc. And alsounderstand what the financial aid options might be,...

...as well as payment options. Soat that level we want to provide enough information to be able to assurethe student that it was something that they could manage given their time, howlong would take to get a degree, what it might costs and what someof the general information on financial aid might be. So in that sense thisseems to have many of the elements of that idea. I think the differencehere could be that it sounds like in this role at the Kennedy School,what they're trying to do is take it all the way through processing the aidso that the person could be served by a single point of contact and,if possible, that that person would not only oversee their application process and beable to speak with that person in depth about their admissibility to the institution,answer questions about scheduled the all of those nuances and logistics of getting the degree, but also fully process their AIDS start to stop with it. If that'spossible to do that, it would be an incredible service, because what weare trying to avoid in one stop scenarios is bouncing the student around the bureaucracyof the of the admits of the institution. Excuse me, and so as wetry to make sure that we're seamlessly providing that information to students and thatthey don't have to go to multiple touchpoints to receive the information or we don'tleave it to for them to put this information together coherently, this may bea really interesting way that they can do this. Will all be very curiousto see how it works out and what the results are for the Kennedy School. You teased on this earlier, but we're asking for for a couple ofdifferent profiles into a new Unicorn position. We want that person that can bean enrollment coach, that can excite and...

...motivate them through the experience. Youwant the person with the technical understanding to provide very, very well informed,thoughtful and accurate financial aid counseling as well. Let's pretend that you're bought into thisconcept of integrated staffing. How do you think about finding those people?How do you how does how would that change how an institution tries to hirefor these kind of new straddler UNICORNS? You know, that's a great questionthere and I think it's it's a a little bit to me, a littlebit less of the hiring difficulty as it is about the training that you'd haveto do in order to get that person really ready to sit in the job. So again, this was some time ago, I had the opportunity totour and talk with a large student loan provider and they had very strong customerservice and I was curious, how do you do it right? How doyou get people who can really help the person who's calling in to answer thosedetailed questions about their loan that, of course, had tangents into financial aid, all of the enrollment level, all those questions that might go with it, and they said it took them about six months to get a person readyto really answer a phone call on their own. And so I think intrying to hire for this position. I've said this many times in my careerand certainly and practice it as well. You can train people to learn financialaid. It's a lot of information, but it is something you can learn. I think. Certainly if you're talking about a director of financial aid,you're talking about years to absorb all of those different facets of it. Butif you're talking about someone who's really a frontline person working with student counseling andprocessing financial aid, you can acquire that knowledge. So I think it's reallymore higher for the skills that are the soft skills or career ready skills,the human interaction skills that will be key...

...to this because the the student cominginto this scenario has to have trusts in the person they're meeting with. Theyhave to believe that they're acting their best interests. The person has to beable to convey confidence that they can process their information a timely manner. Theyhave to have great listening skills, because often students don't ask you a questionthat is really a yes, no, right. They're all kinds of thingsthat might be expressed as concerns that aren't direct concerns, like thank I'm notsure I can pay for this. They might come at it in many differentways than it takes a really good listener and detective in a way to unravelthose nuances of the conversation, those hints that the student may be giving youthat they have a concern that they themselves may not even know how to express. So I think it's really hiring for those skills and then training into thefinancial late information over time. So I anticipate that you may hire someone startthem with some initial training on this, but they'd probably be shadowing and workingon this and acquiring knowledge, probably going online for seminars from the Financial LightAssociation, NASA, maybe even attending professional development workshops to get their feet underneaththem in financial aid for several months before they're really ready to do this work. I love that plan that, if we learn this positive pilot that weall want to consider adopting, that there's the ability to train our existing teamto adopt these new skills tom are there other enrollment, staffing, structural changesor experiments that you've seen in the last decade that have shown the most promise? Absolutely, and I think it even goes longer than a decade. Again, I'm dating myself in this conversation,...

...but there's no way around it.Back in the s IBM had a group called the best practice partners and thiswas a group of innovators who are working in one stop shop models. Thesewere some of the first one stop shops developed in higher in the United States. In the UK it's called Shared Service and a similar concept, and sowhen I've been over there to meet with some of their folks, they havevery similar approaches to how we've approached it here in the United States, andthat model is one where you try and take the most common touch points thestudents have outside of academic needs. So you're not necessarily trying to support anytype of academic to support tutoring, advising that type of thing, but youare trying to take care of anything the student needs, especially with the areaof money, which is oftentimes the area that is the hardest to address andthe one where students really want to talk to a human. A lot ofother areas that we can do in a onestop center. Registration, which includeschanges, of course, changes to courses. It can include petitions, changes ofgrades, it conclude transfer credit work. It can include transcripts or getting officialcopies of records. All of those things can be associated with registration orthe registrars work. We have moved so much of that online that one studentsunderstand how to get into a portal that they may have access to at mostcolleges and universities today, they can largely self served and they only need helpin those things when something's really unusual or something goes wrong. And so inthe onestop model we train for those things, but we don't spend a lot ofour time doing those things. In the one stop where we spend alot of our time is in the area...

...of financial late and the Bursar,because those paying the bill is essentially what the student is trying to do.Financial aid is just a mechanism to pay that bill. It's one of manymechanisms and so, whether the student may be getting grants or assistantships to takethe funds right off the top of that, they're almost always left with an amountthey need to finance. And so being able to speak with the studentcoherently and cohesively about the aid options, but also the payment plan options,what happens with a late fee if they're if they didn't pay their bill ontime, being able to navigate all of that for the student. is areally strong approach to this one stop work and it's where we find mature onestops, meaning those that have been in place for a few years. Theyspent about ninety percent of their time with financial issues and only ten percent oftheir time with everything else the student might need administratively. So I think theidea that the Kennedy School has is on track, meaning that they understand theyhave to also pay attention to the way the student pays for it. ButI think in the in the models that we see in one stops, wetend to divide them between generalists and specialists. So the generalist is the person youcontact if you call in or if you're chatting online or if you walkinto a onestop center. That person should be able to answer about eighty percentof the questions that are received, and usually they're transactional. How do Ido this? How do I do that? Can you help me do this?I need to do that, or simple information. When do you thinkmy loan will be processed? Am I missing anything in my information? Thoseare the kind of transactional questions that are one stopped generalist can answer. Whenagainst into the nuance of that. It...

...seems that for some reason your loanis not going through. It seems that there's information we need that's not,you know, kind of the standard packet of information we need for a loanapplication or financial aid application. That's when we refer them to the generalist whohas that deeper knowledge, and so we would almost always position specialist up atthe front near that in an office off to the side of the one stopcenter so as those questions came in, the generalist that the counter right is, if we're doing this in person, would say hang on just a minute, let me see if I can get someone to help you, and theywould tap that specialist in that often say hey, I've got somebody. Iheard the question, I can answer that person can pull that student out Alignehave them commenced sit down on ravel the situation and ninety nine percent of thetime fix it at that point. But having one person who could do seemto be too much expectation for the generalist because those nuance detailed questions were justso idious and cradic and required such a level of experience and expertise that wecouldn't adequately train that up in the generalist, even over a few years of training. Tom Such awesome insights. I love that you and the folks ataccrow are looking at all the different examples in use cases that are having aroundthe country that we can learn of everyone's curve at once. Finally, anyfinal next steps? Advice prinstitutions listening to this. They might be looking atexperimenting with different enrollment staffing structures. They're trying to provide the best student inRoman experience possible. Where should they start? You know, it's that's a greatquestion, Eric, and I really thought one stop shops were a fadthat came and went in the early two...

...thousands. We seem to spend alot of time and there were some, you know, books written about those. The Site Society for College and University Planning scup put out some guides inthe two thousands to one stops. There have been papers and research articles.If you Google one shops or on stop centers higher education, I'm sure you'dcome up with lots of resources because this is something that was popular around theearly two thousands and it seems in the last five years or so the interestin this has come up again, and so we're seeing a resurgence of interestin this, that people are interested in how this works and what to do. So if you can certainly look out there at different professional organizations, notonly acro but also new Kubo has some resources. That's the business officers organizationon one stop shops, and I think just start there, start to seewhat are other people doing, what do you what's working, and then,once you've done some initial research, identify some institutions that have these onestop centersand go make a visit, take a small team and tour two or threeof these different onestop centers and identify the things that you think are really appealingand the things that you think would really work at your own institution. Whilethey may have similarities, they're all unique and you have to figure out theright combination and the right physical formats, the right online formats, the righttechnologies that are really going to work for your institutional context. Thank you somuch of your time today. What's the best place for listeners to reach outto you your team at they have any follow up questions? Oh, absolutely, two things. I'll give you my my email address. It's Tom DotGreen, note e on the end of green at acrow a, Ac urAo do Org, and you can also...

...get more website acrow dot org.We've got lots of resources for all kinds of issues in administrative services, inregistration services and strategic enrollment management. Awesome, Tom thanks so much for joining ustoday. It's been a pleasure. Thank you. Attracting today's new posttraditional learners means adopting new enrollment strategies. Helix educations data driven, enterprise wideapproach to enrollment growth is uniquely helping colleges and universities thrive in this new educationlandscape, and Helix has just published the second edition of their enrollment growth playbookwith fifty percent brand new content on how institutions can solve today's most pressing enrollmentgrowth challenges. Downloaded today for free at Helix Educationcom. Slash playbook. You'vebeen listening to enrollment growth university from Helix Education. To ensure that you nevermiss an episode, subscribe to the show in Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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