Rutgers plans to streamline financial aid services into 'One-Stop Shop'
As a part of the University’s Strategic Plan, Rutgers announced they intend to revamp financial aid to eventually create a “One-Stop Shop,” where the Rutgers community can go to one location for all student services.
The plan was initiated as a result of the University's efforts to improve the student experience, said Neal Buccino, a University spokesperson.
Buccino said students described a “pain point” as having to go from office to office, dealing with long lines and not reaching the right person to solve their problem. The University garnered results from a survey to find out what types of problems students were encountering.
Rutgers administrators hope to have the "One-Stop Shop" open by Summer 2019, he said.
“Rutgers University—New Brunswick will build a 'One-Stop Shop' student service center on the present site of ASB1 on the Busch campus. 'One-Stop Shops' will eventually be built on all Rutgers campuses. This facility will be students’ focal point for answers or resolutions to non-academic services, such as financial aid, student accounting, parking matters or obtaining transcripts. This should significantly improve students’ experience,” Buccino said.
Records Hall is currently the location for the Office of Dining Services, main services for facilities, financial aid, student accounting and the Office of Information Technology, and most students handle registration online.
Buccino said this building has limited parking and needs extensive repairs.
In an interview with New Brunswick Chancellor Debasish Dutta, he outlined his plans for the "One-Stop Shop" and how the new initiative will impact students.
“All student-related services will be available — financial aid, registration, accounting, everything you utilize and now you have to go to multiple campuses for, will be available in one stop, in one facility," Dutta said. "And more importantly, we are going to design it in a way so that it is the most mobile-friendly that it can be. Essentially, you can have online access to as many things as you can."
He said having a singular location for all non-academic services will alter the student experience greatly.
“The frustration will be reduced significantly. Now, in the meantime, since it is still 12-18 months away, I have talked to Courtney McAnuff, who is now the vice chancellor for enrollment management. We will try to improve our services, we will try to be more responsive ... and hopefully, we’ll be able to address it much before the 'One Stop Shop' online. But the 'One Stop Shop' will truly be transformative," he said. "If it is as we think it should be, I feel the student experience and all the administrative matters will be significantly different and much better."
The "One-Stop Shop" on Busch campus will be a significant improvement, with sufficient parking for visitors and access to the bus system, Buccino said.
Buccino said that the University will create more mobile applications for these services to provide students with a wider variety of self-service options.
The process to create the "One-Stop Shop" has already begun, Buccino said. The University has sent teams to several universities to identify the best working models and has plans to hire a director for the "One-Stop Shop."
In addition to the "One-Stop Shop," the University plans to enhance the online experience for financial aid.
“(Online presence) will be a significant part of (the renovations). It will be one facility for the entire New Brunswick campus, and I do think it will be more efficient in terms of processing the student requests. Now, again, I don’t want to be saying ‘I’m new, I don’t know’ and use that as an excuse, but what I’ve been told and as you’re hearing, the 'One-Stop Shop' does not exist now … There are services that are not a part of it …,” Dutta said.
Enhancements to online services will include self-service mobile applications for financial aid, student accounting and registration.
Dutta said as many services as possible will be online.
Additional updates to student experience include implementation of significant changes in staff training, greater emphasis on customer service and the ability to resolve student concerns, Buccino said.
“Chancellor Dutta is focused on ensuring that students are supported both inside and outside the classroom. Helping to reduce students’ difficulty with and time spent resolving non-academic issues will contribute to their ability to focus on academic success,” Buccino said.