What does change management mean to you? Does it mean managing the process of change? Managing to survive the change? A bit of both? If the thought of change management compels you to think about pure survival, rest easy. We’re here with resources to help you manage the changes that are occurring, rather than being managed by them.
Pretending change isn’t happening isn’t a good approach
Let’s all be honest: ignoring what’s coming doesn’t make it go away. It’s the worst way to approach change, actually. Confronting and embracing the future is necessary. All of my experience in financial aid has been in offices swamped in change. From struggling aid offices to start up campuses, and at an institution that had gone through an ownership change, managing change was a daily task. And it became second nature. However, it wasn’t until I joined a technology company that I received formal training on some incredibly effective change management techniques. I’ve also been provided with more formal tools to manage said change.
FinAid Office fundamentals
There are a lot of amazingly well run aid offices—some of you have really figured out how to manage change. But some are still trying to figure out how to manage the changes wrought by initiatives like PPY, instead of getting managed by them. Any change management plan you create should detail how you’ll address three things:
- Managing continuous change with static resources
- Maintaining a positive culture at your FinAid office and throughout the institution through the change
- Providing a consistent, positive student experience
You need to take control of the work around you. At times, you may feel this is easier said than done in a busy, high-pressure FinAid office. Trying to juggle accrediting requirements, Federal regulations, state requirements, institutional priorities/expectations, and the student experience is not an easy task. For example, when HEOA was reauthorized in 2008 it contained 432 pages of statutory language. More than four hundred pages. Implementation of change on a scale like that requires a plan.
Implementing HEOA: 400 compliance changes and updates
I recently read that the 2008 HEOA required more than 400 compliance changes and updates across a variety of implementation dates. These are all of the new requirements you have been implementing for the past seven years; things like Net Price Calculators, preferred lender arrangements, borrower disclosures, and updated disclosure and compliance provisions. I’m pretty confident that the changes we are seeing are going to spike again once re-authorization is passed. Fingers crossed it won’t take the 13 extensions and five-plus years it did last time (but I am not holding my breath).
Change is constant
The atmosphere surrounding higher education seems to indicate that we will have as much change going forward as we have seen in the past. Not having mastered how to manage it is ok, as long as you are working to improve. Read on for some of the tools and techniques that I have used to manage the changing aid office.
Download the Change Management Tips and Tools PDF here >