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Enrollment center offers 'one stop' shopping for GRU students

Monday, May 12, 2014 6:50 PM
Last updated 9:32 PM
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Gone are the days of Georgia Regents University students bouncing between three different offices to get their financial aid, admissions and registrar issues in order before classes begin each semester.

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GRU Enrollment Service Center Manager Seth Easton stands in the new "one stop shop" center, at the Summerville campus in Augusta, intended to centralize the school's registrar, financial aid and admissions units.   MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
GRU Enrollment Service Center Manager Seth Easton stands in the new "one stop shop" center, at the Summerville campus in Augusta, intended to centralize the school's registrar, financial aid and admissions units.

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.

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corgimom 05/12/14 - 10:01 pm
It wasn't a problem having

It wasn't a problem having them in three separate places.

If somebody can't handle that, they might as well not even register, they won't be able to handle the rigors of college, nor the careers available after graduation.

Sometimes we make things too easy, you know?

pja5529 05/13/14 - 08:09 am
It wasn't hard corgimom...

But very time consuming. As an alumni of ASU, I recall several times having to wait hours just for them to get an issue straightened out...and half of the time could have been avoided if the registrars office had access to my financial info instead of me having to play errand runner between the 2 departments. Kudos to this great move!

DamnYankee 05/13/14 - 02:51 pm

Mr. Seth Easton - Okay, so combined services and eliminate how many jobs? And this is better for the student how? Have you tried to call into admissions lately?

We've called admissions for three days straight - only to get a recording to leave a message. Left messages - no call back. And we've talked to other families with the same issues.

Orientation for freshmen next year as a result of consolidation:
$40 for the student, and $20 for accompanying guardian. Let's just say $60 then. Oh, it's 8 hours long, campus tour, continental breakfast, lunch (which I am sure will be nothing more than a bag or similar). And, oh you register for classes.

So you pay thousands of dollars for tuition and all the other misc fees, and in order to register a freshman for classes you have to an ADDITIONAL $60 at orientation?

Have we seen better "service" or lower fees? Nope. No one answers phones(no call backs) and $60 to sit through an orientation and register for classes.

While national headlines scream at the cost of higher education, GRU sells a good PR story here. Sorry I call BS on this one.

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