The university has launched an Enrollment Services Center with all three offices under one roof, providing a “one stop shop” experience for students and allowing financial aid staff to focus on processing data instead of customer relations.
The model has been in place at other colleges and universities across the state and is part of an effort to make GRU more student friendly, said the Center’s manager Seth Easton.
“Not only are we trying to be student orientated and do what’s best for the students and applicants, but we’re also trying to take some of the burden off the staffs,” Easton said.
The center is located on the first floor of Fanning Hall on the west side of the Summerville Campus and has three main staff members who greet students and work to address their questions. The registrar department works in the basement while financial aid staff is housed on the second floor.
Students come to the center for everything from checking on financial aid status to getting admission information and making sure all their paperwork is filed.
The center will also be the starting point for campus tours and admissions information for new students.
Valerie Gudith, who has worked in the financial aid and registrar departments for six years, said the condensed model should be more convenient for students.
Sometimes financial aid concerns overlap with registrar issues, and instead of students spending hours between several offices, all their information will be accessible by one person.
“What’s nice is a student can come in and ask questions about three different departments and get an answer,” Gudith said. “Since we are able to answer to the students directly, the staffs can focus on processing 100 percent.”
To get the center launched, the university had to fully disassemble the former financial aid and admissions departments.
On April 17 GRU Vice Provost Roman Cibirka sent a letter notifying all 29 employees from those departments their positions had been eliminated. They were instructed to reapply for their positions, and if they are not selected amongst the applicants, their last day will be June 17.
Christen Carter, director of media relations, said the university is looking for highly qualified people to make the center a success and many of the current employees fit that description. She could not, however, say how many current employees could be replaced by new applicants.
Georgia State University launched a similar center in 2007 and Registrar Shari Schwartz said it is more efficient than the traditional model of housing the departments in different offices.
The Enrollment Services Center’s 20-person staff at GSU was able to handle 112,000 calls, 67,000 in-person visits and more than 10,000 of online requests last year alone.
“Instead of having to navigate the campus and go from one office to another, it’s a central place they can go to receive assistance,” Schwartz said.