Florida’s only public HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) builds a financial office of the future with Oracle Student Financial Planning.
“With Oracle Student Financial Planning, students and parents have more real-time visibility into the financial aid process and their eligibility, and they have more insight into the impact of borrowing and taking on loans. By giving the staff time back, we have more time to counsel students and provide excellent customer service.”
Founded in 1887 with a mission to uphold academic excellence, affordability, and diversity for its students, Florida A&M University is the only public HBCU in the state of Florida. Known for its close-knit community of alumni, the university prides itself on a commitment to social justice, academic excellence, low tuition, and proven potential for social mobility for its graduates.
The university is also known to support a large population of first-generation, Pell Grant-eligible students. More than 85% of its students receive some type of financial assistance to attend, but the process to apply for funding at the university was outdated and arduous. FAMU was operating with a small financial aid office and a highly manual financial aid system, which made it difficult for staff to advise students and make personal connections.
Financial aid is a core part of FAMU’s student mission and a foundation for making sure that college is affordable and attainable. It’s also a high-visibility area for students and one that touches many other departments across the university. As such, FAMU wanted to adopt a new system that would optimize financial aid resources and capabilities and streamline processes for its students, making funds readily available to those most in need.
If a student feels they have their financial aid all set up and they can focus solely on their academics, then their grades are going to improve, their persistence to graduation is going to improve, and their feeling about the campus and their experience is going to be better as well. All of that plays a role in student success.
Why Florida A&M University chose Oracle
FAMU chose to adopt Oracle Student Financial Planning (SFP) because university leaders recognized the ways that cloud technology and automation could improve the student experience at the institution. Implementing Oracle SFP would make it easier for the university to maintain compliance and create accurate award packages. The system would also provide a better student experience with more visibility into borrowing details, funds distribution, and more.
The university was also an existing PeopleSoft Campus Solutions customer. By choosing Oracle for its financial aid system, FAMU had the advantage of out-of-the-box integration and the ability to share data across those systems securely and effectively.
FAMU went live with Institutional Student Information Record processing with Oracle Student Financial Planning in the fall of 2020, and was fully live for the 2021-2022 academic year. The university experienced tremendous benefits throughout the financial aid process for both staff and students.
Oracle SFP has allowed the institution to move away from manual tasks like verification and document matching, allowing staff to build more personalized relationships with students and their families. Due to better insights into student aid eligibility—and more proactive communication with those students—the institution has experienced a 26% increase in Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) submissions and a 47% increase in award completions.
“Previously, 80% of the work was spent in the back-office processing, and only 20% was when staff had the time to effectively counsel our students and parents,” says Lassandra Brice, associate director of financial aid. “Now we have flipped that paradigm."
Oracle SFP’s integration with the Department of Education and its powerful automation capabilities have increased the speed with which the financial aid office is able to process financial aid applications. For example, staff was able to load more than 11,000 student data records in a single day. The financial aid office also realized a year-over-year increase of 42% in financial aid disbursements on the first day of the Spring 2022 semester compared to Spring 2021. The institution has also streamlined its delivery of financial aid packages from its former timeline of 7 to 10 days to just 2 or 3 days.
Oracle Student Financial Planning manages each student’s financial situation independently and provides real-time visibility into a comprehensive, multiyear plan. Students and parents have commented on the improved user experience, from managing e-signatures and forms to tracking award status in the student portal. Students can also receive instant feedback on the financial implications of their academic choices (such as how moving from full-time to part-time status will affect their eligibility), helping them make better-informed academic and borrowing decisions.
Tia Huie, a financial aid office student employee, says that Oracle's Student Financial Planning Portal has created more transparency between the Office of Financial Aid and the student population. "Everything dealing with student aid is now in one area where student information can be easily accessed and submitted,” she says.
Florida A&M University selected Sierra-Cedar for the implementation and was able to implement Oracle Student Financial Planning in six months.
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- Florida A&M boosts financial aid services with Oracle Student Financial Planning