University of South Carolina Aiken

Program Review for 2004-2005-2006


Enrollment Services


Enclosed are the reports from the units within this division: Admissions, Advisement Services, Career ServicesFinancial Aid, and the Registrar

Mission Statement


The mission of the Division of Enrollment services is to provide timely, beneficial, and accurate information to all individuals interested in pursuing educational, professional and personal goals, which can be obtained by attending the university.  Providing these services to prospective and current students as well as other constituents is integral to the ongoing success of USCA and those we serve.


2004-2005 Review


The 2004-2005 Year has brought more applications, more services, more programming, more referrals, more financial aid awards, increased use of technology and more graduates than any previous year in the history of our division.  Establishing and maintaining a supportive, friendly, efficient work environment, a strong work ethic among employees and student workers, and a genuine concern for our students and our campus have been priorities which we feel are reflected on a daily basis.  The following Program Reviews from the Offices of Admissions, Financial Aid, Records & Registration, Career Services and Academic Advisement will highlight continuing programs, new initiatives, and needs. 


In the past 5 years freshman enrollment (first time, full time) has grown from 471 to 571, an increase of 18%, and 87%  (305 to 571) since 1997 . Yet in the same 5 years the undergraduate student body enrollment has only grown by twelve students from 3139 to 3151, and 10% since 1997.  (See Enrollment Growth charts on page 6).


Of course there are several reasons for this trend, and some of those which have been examined include: discontinuation of completion programs offered by the Schools of Business and Education at USC Beaufort, the discontinuation of a very popular Associate Degree in Nursing, a decrease in the number of transfer students, more traditional aged freshmen being admitted at the lower spectrum of the admissions pool, a decrease in the number of non-traditional students, tuition increases, and fewer students retaining state scholarship eligibility after their freshman year, .  There are certainly other factors we have yet to identify and will continue to be a focus of my office, the office of Institutional Effectiveness and the Enrollment Planning Team. (EPT).  In addition, one of the most alarming statistics we have examined reveals in the last 4 years, our freshman class retention rate (those who continue to their sophomore year at USCA) has dropped from 75% to 60%.   This is alarming.  Based on these trends it is easy to understand why retention of students is the most critical enrollment issue we face today, and one of the major reasons that we must reshape our freshman class.

2005 – 2006 Initiatives


Many articles have been written and much research conducted regarding “student engagement.” and its direct relationship to student success.   The amount and quality of student engagement is often cited as a major factor in the student’s ability to successfully obtain a four year degree.  Students must be able to make the transition from high school to college, feel a sense of belonging, and find “true” success in and out of the classroom.  They must also understand (very early) the appropriate amount, and type of engagement that must take place to be a successful college student.  The students that never make the transition (academically or socially) to the USCA community are the ones who leave and are the ones in need of additional guidance or assistance.


Considering our history as a “feeder”, “hometown”, “commuter” institution, student engagement has always been a major challenge.   While many prospective students and parents still view USCA as the institution we once were, some evolutionary changes have taken place on this campus. In the coming year the Enrollment Planning Team (EPT), Action Teams within EPT, and the Enrollment Services division will address many of these perceptions.


In an effort to contribute to student success, it is critical that we and every department on this campus attempt to engage our students in appropriate learning/developmental opportunities. While this is being done successfully in many classrooms and corners of the campus we must all understand that student engagement involves each of us, and is the key to student success.  Therefore, our services, programs, and activities will take a more aggressive approach in attempting to engage more students, in many different ways.  As an example, all new students are engaged at some level by the Office of Admissions. We will continue to strive to make the application process, smooth, informative, supportive and very different from institutions who do not attempt to engage students (at a high level) through this process.  At the same time the Admissions Office will be have as it’s number one priority the “reshaping” of the freshman class.   The same challenge is faced by the other offices in the division and we will make a renewed and focused effort to “engage” our prospective and current students at new levels.  One of the driving forces for this new level of engagement is the tremendous amount of work that the Enrollment Planning Team has and will continue to do.  For more information about the efforts, discussions, the year end report, and priorities set by EPT, I encourage you to visit the web site at:


You will note in the following pages that the Admissions Office initiatives include recruiting a more diverse group of students; concentrating on more academically prepared students, implementing a strategy to recruit students from other areas of the state, and begin discussions with the EPT regarding the merits of an out of state recruitment initiative.   Financial Aid with the assistance of the Enrollment Planning Team is addressing current scholarship and financial aid strategies, and identifying issues, concerns and trends we need to address. Career Services will introduce a new process to connect all incoming  freshmen with a four year career planning process, and examine the current student employment process in an effort to engage students in ways that will assist them in future interview and employment opportunities.  The Advisement Office will be proposing that we request the services of an outside consultant to evaluate our current advisement system and make recommendations for changes or enhancements.  The Records Office will be undergoing major internal personnel responsibility changes which will create better service for our students, faculty and staff.   The Enrollment Planning team will continue to pursue issues, monitor progress, and communicate findings and concerns to appropriate campus committees, offices and/or individuals. 


In the midst of these plans, the USCA campus and the USC system have embarked on a MAJOR initiative which will have a tremendous impact on the services of the offices and Directors within the division.  Called the One Carolina project, it is the University's multi-year initiative to replace its outdated administrative computing applications, including Student Information Systems, Finance, Sponsored Programs and Human Resources into one easily-accessible, Web-based system.  Over the next 4 years, the USC System and USCA will be involved in this project which will require input, patience, training, and a positive attitude.  More information about this project can be found at:  As part of the USC Aiken team, the Registrar, Directors of Financial Aid and Admissions, and Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Services will be devoting a significant amount of time and energy to this project.  It is a tremendous challenge and requires this level of input from our campus to ensure that our needs will be met.  Unfortunately the time commitments we have to make to this project will impact the present services we provide.


Finally, as previously stated, we firmly believe that providing appropriate opportunities of Student Engagement will be the key to student success at USCA.  In order to accomplish this goal, we must continue to address many “infrastructure” issues throughout the campus, and in particularly within the Division of Enrollment Services.




Personnel and Programming



Hire consultant to assist in the evaluation of the current Advisement System at USCA. $1500


         The Office of Enrollment Services will be initiating retention communication/surveys, etc…

         Advisement Services can no longer rely on “bulk” mailing for one of it’s mailings and must have more money to send mailing first class

         Every 3-5 years the Financial Aid Office completes a cost of attendance survey which must have a high return rate to be valid, and we must provide postage paid envelopes for this to occur.



         Additional funds will be needed to expand our recruitment efforts in targeted areas of the state.  (12 additional counties: Greenwood, Anderson, Greenville, Spartanburg, York, Richland, Sumter, Florence, Horry, Charleston, Berkley, Dorchester)


a.   we will need to institute a wide-ranging student search process.  Search, which involves buying students’ names and contact information from testing services or survey organizations and then sending them an unsolicited contact about USCA, is a traditional means of getting our institution’s name in front of students who have not heard of us or investigated us.  Creating new search pieces, posters, multi media campaign to new areas of the state, website upgrades, postage, phone  and travel expenses  $14,000







Technology needs:



         Financial Aid needs an additional computer in our student work station area from the migration process


         Financial Aid Office needs assistance from CTC on implementing expanded electronic contact options that would serve all of our students.



Enrollment Growth Charts


Total Headcount Growth since 1997 = 10.0%


Total FT Freshman Headcount Growth since 1997 = 87.2%






Office of Admissions

Program Review 2004-2005


Mission Statement


The Office of Admissions strives to facilitate the recruitment and admissions process of undergraduate and graduate students, administers residency policies, and coordinates international student admissions and NCAA admissions compliance.

Year In Review 2004-2005


The 2004-2005 academic year was, as usual, a busy one in the Office of Admissions. It included implementing new freshman admission requirements, further implementing revisions to our transfer credit evaluation process, continuing our involvement in the Enrollment Planning Team and its action teams – all while recruiting what would turn out to be the institution’s second largest freshman class ever.


High School Student Recruitment continues to take most of the time and efforts of the admissions staff.  Therefore, Admissions was pleased for the second consecutive year with the increased number of applications received from high school students for Fall ’05 and the continued strong yield rate on those admitted.  Counselors participated extensively in recruitment fairs and conducted limited private high school visits throughout South Carolina. Most of our in-state travel revolves around the western region of SC, although we have pushed out to more distant areas, such as parts of the Greenville, Spartanburg, Columbia, Sumter, Florence, Orangeburg, Charleston, and Rock Hill areas.


The most important change instituted a year ago was the implementation of a minimum SAT/ACT score (800/17) for freshman applicants.  Implemented for Spring ’05 applicants, this change has brought about a new decision category and rejection letter and has resulted in our staff having discussions with students and families about being denied admission under this category and opportunities for future admission to USC Aiken.


Another major point of discussion over the past year has been the possibility of implementing a provisional admission category based on students high school class rank.  Coming out of the EPT’s Freshman Admission Team, this proposal would identify applicants who meet the standard admission requirements but who rank in the bottom 40% of their high school class.  They would be admitted provisionally, compelled to complete some additional level of requirements in order to make their admission complete.


□The USCA Scholars Program continues to be one of the most successful high school recruitment activities in which we participate.  It is truly an example of the entire campus participating in a variety of activities to attract quality students to this campus. This program (as many others) could not be accomplished without the tremendous support we receive from faculty, staff, students and the senior administration. We have expanded the Scholar program to include additional South Carolina high schools (primarily those with counselors visiting our campus as part of the Guidance Counselor Bus Tour) and we expanded it for the Class of 2004 to include the top 15% (up from top 10%) of each school’s junior class.  Adjustments were made to the reception invitation process to help equalize the numbers of visitors for each reception, primarily the local students/families.    Discussion has also taken place as to whether to institute a minimum SAT/ACT score as part of the Scholar requirements for the future.  If implemented, this change would reduce the numbers of Scholars named, but would increase their quality and would allow for a more personalized recruitment effort.


□Maintaining a positive relationship with our high school Guidance Counselors statewide continues to be a critical function. In October ’05, Admissions hosted “Counselor Day at USCA” which attracted 27 counselors from 17 high schools across the state.  This event gave us the opportunity to showcase the people and programs our campus can offer the state’s students.  Overwhelmingly positive evaluations of the program have encouraged us to consider making this a yearly event.  In addition, we have continued our traditional “Road Trip” to the statewide guidance conferences (including our offer of transportation for the Aiken/Edgefield counselors to the nearest program), our annual business luncheon on campus, and a once-a-semester meeting with our Aiken County High School Guidance Counselor Advisory Committee.  A (hopefully) one-year only hiatus of the statewide public college tour for guidance counselors denied us this opportunity in June 05.  We look forward to the resumption of this positive opportunity to have counselors visit our campus next summer.


□The Pacer Spirit volunteer group completed its second year and began its third with great results.  Formed in Spring ’03 and now comprised of 15 members, the group conducts tours for all major recruitment events (Freshman Friday, Second Saturday, Transfer Friday, USCA Scholars reception, Counselor Day, Guidance Counselor Bus Tour, etc).  The group also handles the vast majority of our weekday campus tours (Mon – Fri 10 a.m., Tues/Thurs 2 p.m.), allowing our visitors for those individual visits to interact with a current student as well as our admissions counselors.  Strong feedback from campus visitors continue to show that these student volunteers are having the desired effect of effectively sharing their first-hand USC Aiken experience with our guests.


The Admissions web site and e-mail continue to be ever-increasingly key components in our recruitment activities.  We have worked to ensure our pages are kept up to date and new information is added as quickly as possible.  The campus webmaster’s assistance continues to  allow for upgrades to our content’s quality and quantity.  Use of the Virtual Advisor function on the website continues to exceed our early ideas about its usefulness – enough so that we have signed a two-year renewal with the vendor.  We continue to offer a digital viewbook, campus webcams, virtual tour, a USC Aiken Orientation “diary,” and the Pacer Student Diaries.  A specific effort was made in the development of the ’04-’06 printed Viewbook to include references to a variety of campus websites of interest to prospective students.  Admissions received over 1,700 electronic requests for various information this year (we received over 6,500 the previous five years), including the address, counselors’ personal addresses, and the webpage’s information request form. 


Electronic Applications   For 2005, over 1800 applications for admission were completed and submitted online.  This number continues on a steady rise (approximately 325 In ’99, 535 in ’00, 840 in ’01, 965 in ’02, 1440 in ’03, 1650 in ‘04), allowing these files to be downloaded directly into IMS each morning without our staff having to key them in.  This frees our staff for other duties required in the processing of applications (following up with incomplete apps, data entry of transcript info, creation/mailing of decision letters/packets, updating of files with final transcript info, etc)


□The effectiveness of institutional scholarships in the recruitment of high-caliber students seemed to continue to decline in comparison to recent years.  Because of students declining original offers, several Chancellor’s Scholarships had to be re-awarded to other students after they had already made the decision to enroll in Fall ’05.  Several Ford Scholarships went unused.  The effort in Admissions to verify the academic qualifications of potential LIFE and HOPE scholarship recipients in June and July declined this year due to new use of the IMS “LIFE” screen to track information.  Admissions has also partnered with the Office of Financial Aid on the review of transcript information related to the awarding of LIFE Scholarships to transfer students.  Scholarships and Financial Aid have and will continue to be one of the most critical components in student recruitment, and Admissions is pleased to continue to be represented on the EPT “Scholarships/Financial Aid Strategies” action team.


□ The Transfer Student Recruitment Program (concentrating on the 2-year colleges in South Carolina), continues to result in solid numbers of applications from most of these institutions as well as much better working relationships.  The PATS (Parallel Advisement for Transfer Students) program was introduced at Aiken Technical College in 1998 and approximately 175 students are presently participating in this program.  Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College and Piedmont Technical College (in Greenwood) have also PATS programs on their campuses.  We have spent a great deal of time continuing to foster relationships related to the PATS programs at these campuses. Transfer enrollment has been an up and down affair recently, with  a decrease in Fall ’03, a modest increase in Fall ’04, and another decrease in Fall ’05.  More effort will be paid to this effort – especially now that the Transfer Counselor is not consumed with the effort to revamp our transfer credit evaluation process.


□Again this year, a good deal of time was spent troubleshooting our new Degree Audit Recording System (DARS), and transitioning to the new discipline-based evaluation of transfer credit (as was requested by the Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs). This was a labor intensive process and included bringing on a new part-time employee responsible for the day-to-day operations of DARwin and the transfer credit evaluation process.  Marcia Vernberg left our staff and was replaced by Kendall Tubbs and later Ashley Ball.  This position has been invaluable to making our use of DARwin and the new discipline-based credit evaluation system work.   Implemented in April 05, the new credit evaluation format has shown itself to provide a more accurate review of incoming transfer coursework, but it does have some limitations which are currently being worked through. 


Speede (the ability to electronically receive official transcripts from other colleges and eventually high schools) continues to be an efficient way to receive transcripts from other colleges and universities via this electronic, paper-free process.  Since 1999, USCA has received over 800 transcripts in this manner, peaking in 2000 and dropping a bit since.  Increased usage is hoped for, although it is dependent upon other institutions.


□ Admissions’ successful on-campus visitation programs, (Freshmen Fridays and Second Saturdays) continued in 04-05, with two of the Freshman Fridays being offered during the busy fall semester.  With the ever-growing attendance for campus visit opportunities, Admissions decided to move to a total of six Freshman Fridays for 05-06.  Second Saturdays have continued to grow in attendance and updates to the agenda and information flow at the events have helped to ensure their effectiveness.


□ To provide contact between current and prospective USC Aiken students, the fourth annual student phonathon was conducted in spring ‘05.  Coordinated by Admissions and Student Affairs, the incoming group of Pacesetters attempted approximately 1300 calls and completed  just under 40% of them to newly admitted freshmen or their parents.  This productive effort has become a standard part of Admissions’ yield-enhancing activities.  More attention must be paid to student-to-student phone calling.  Expansion based on additional volunteer and/or paid student telecounseling are being considered by Admissions and will be a key future opportunity.


After a hiatus, Admissions returned to a more appropriate focus on minority student recruitment, approaching these students in an intentional way.  This focus was integrated within efforts to communicate with USCA Scholars, applicants, and admitted students.  A new brochure was created to provide a tangible information source for minority-focused campus programming.  The Multicultural Affairs Office provided invaluable assistance to these efforts.


□ Recognizing a need to be more proactive and intentional in the way we communicate visually with prospective students and their families, Admissions this year formally designated both a Publications Coordinator and Web Associate from our staff.  These staff members have taken the “point position” on the creation and revision of recruitment publications and websites and have worked closely with the Marketing and Visual Communications staff members.


Admissions partnered with the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures to revamp the foreign language placement process for newly admitted freshmen.  Instead of these students taking an online placement exam, their high school transcripts are now reviewed and documented by an Admissions (student) staff member and then forwarded to LLC for evaluation and placement.  The forms are then added to the students’ advisement folders.


□Admissions coordinated efforts with Academic Affairs to help effectively promote the newly reestablished Honors Program.  Admissions worked with Marketing to produce an Honors brochure (paid for from the Marketing – A022 – budget).  We also worked with the Office of  Institutional Effectiveness to identify for the Honors Pgm director quality students who were offered the chance apply to participate in the program.


□ Coordinating efforts with the Student Life, Enrollment Services, and Academic Advising offices, Admissions drastically improved the creation process for advisement folders for newly admitted students.  By only making folders for students who signed up to attend a new student orientation session, we were able to reduce paper, copying, and student worker salary costs, while at the same time reducing our impact on environmental resources.


□ Admissions continued its efforts to have more contact with outside schools, groups, and agencies, including WJBF-TV (Best of the Class recognition), Augusta Chronicle (Best & Brightest competition judge), and Aiken Technical College (School to Work program, “Education Consultants” program).  Some of these institutional awareness efforts are advertising, some professional service, and some community service.  They all serve to get USC Aiken’s name in front of various constituencies.


□ Admissions continued using both a Recruitment Retreat for the counseling staff and a general Office Retreat for all staff.  These two day-long events allowed the staff to leave the hectic office atmosphere for a chance to review processes, assess effectiveness of various efforts, and discuss new initiatives.  Plans call for both to be continued in the future.


Admissions was heavily involved in the Enrollment Planning Team, with the director, an assistant director, and a counselor all involved with different action teams (Freshman Admissions, Fin. Aid/Scholarship Strategy, and Minority Student Success).  This time commitment was difficult but important to Admissions’ role in overall campus enrollment.


Graduate Studies continues to function smoothly, the result of an experienced and knowledgeable coordinator. The consolidation of this office with the Admissions suite continues to be one of the best personnel/facility decisions made at USC Aiken.  The presence of the residency officer in Admissions is key to that assessment.  Some cross training has taken place between Graduate and Undergraduate staff members and will continue resulting in a more efficient operation of both offices and better service to our students.






As noted last year, “keeping up with the Joneses” is an ongoing issue.  Our staff is one that continually observes what our competitors are doing and tries to incorporate opportunities into our activities.  While the creative juices keep flowing and the enthusiasm level is high, there are limits – both financial and staffing – that limit what we can continue to add year after year.  Continuing programs are evaluated for their continuing effectiveness, but few are actually eliminated.  The additional admissions counselor position just approved will allow for additional focus on current programming and will allow us to explore new recruitment efforts, although we are keenly aware that the new counselor’s focus will primarily be to augment our current efforts.


□ Time constraints and effective budgeting of that limited time continued to restrict opportunities to conduct strategic thinking in Admissions.  Retreats helped to engage the counseling and support staffs in long-term thinking/planning, but the high volume of day-to-day activity in the office bog down the counseling staff, primarily the director.  The coming of the new OneCarolina ERP will exacerbate this high activity level in the coming year.


Major Unit Goals for 2005-2006

□ The creation of a new admissions counselor position in October 2005 has made clear the need for Admissions to bring in an appropriately sized freshman class each fall of 600-650 students; a process complicated by factors such as a possible provisional admission program, increased tuition rates, admissions policy changes at USC Columbia, transition of USC Beaufort to a four year campus, etc.  The new admissions counselor will help us expand our efforts to create additional applications, provide additional focus and follow-up to those applicants, and to focus on the importance of getting our prospective students and their families to visit the campus.

□With the proposed (discussed) transition of the Transfer Credit Analyst position from Admissions to Records, the Transfer Coordinator (Asst. Dir. of Admissions) will be placing more emphasis on transfer student recruitment.  From additional visits to feeder technical colleges to more consistent mailings to prospects and PATS enrollees, we will be more proactive and intentional in our efforts to reach out to this group of prospects.


We will continue to provide outstanding campus visit opportunities, including Second Saturday “small group presentations” every month except August, November, January, and March.  Due to their success, our expanded Freshman Friday program will be expanded to a total of six events – three in fall, three in spring.  A similar open house program will continue for transfer students in February.  We will continue to participate in and enhance the 30+ recruitment programs/activities we currently sponsor in an effort to recruit the highest quality students possible.


□ Our attention to younger students will continue.  Participation in the Higher Education Awareness Program (HEAP) continues to create opportunities for involvement with middle school students.  During our Spring break, hundreds of middle school students are given tours of the campus.   Additionally, we have committed to attending several HEAP-related college fairs for 8th-grade students not directly associated with USC Aiken this fall.  We continue to work with the Ruth Patrick Science Center in the GEAR UP program and provided sessions for these middle school students and their parents.   We also visit middle schools during career days, and talk to them about the courses they will need to take in high school if they plan to attend USCA.  Several of our staff participate as CACRAO “Education Consultants” and in a new effort, we have made a concerted effort to reach out to guidance counselors – especially those locally – to carry the message of higher education to ninth and tenth-graders – while technically not middle school, still an effort to get the word out to younger students.


Graduate Admissions continues to have several areas of challenge and opportunity.  The M.S. in Applied Clinical Psychology had a larger and better pool of applicants this fall.  The applicant pool for the M.Ed. in Educational Technology and Elementary Education programs declined. 


Strong competition in the areas of Elementary Education and Educational Technology is an issue.  There are many nontraditional programs being delivered in our area, including weekend and web based programs.  Some of these programs have less stringent admission requirements and can be completed in less time.  These issues need to be addressed by the School of Education so that USC Aiken programs remain competitive.

Marketing of Graduate Programs and graduate recruitment continues to be an issue.  The Graduate Admissions budget has a very limited amount of money available to print marketing materials.  There are no travel funds available for recruitment in the Graduate Admissions budget.  The role of the Graduate Coordinator in any marketing/recruitment effort is not well defined.  A marketing/recruitment plan and funds to support that plan are needed.  The strategic plan calls for the development of a recruitment plan that increases the number of qualified applicants from current levels by 20% in 2004, 25% in 2005, and 30% in 2006.


Due to USC Columbia’s recent move to Value Centered Management the future of the USC Columbia Extended Graduate Campus Office is uncertain.  Changes in the USC EGC Office directly impact the USCA Graduate Studies Coordinator.


Although there is a web-based Graduate application, the data is not automatically updated on IMS.  The current electronic application needs to be altered to require certain fields to be completed.


Assessment activities:


In an effort to evaluate our programs and activities, we utilize a variety of assessment tools.


The feedback we have received from these sources has lead to some dramatic changes as to when, how, and if we deliver our programs.  In contrast, much of the information we have gathered has confirmed that we are on the right track to meeting our goals.  It is clear that this type of information is invaluable in our current planning process and that more time and effort must be invested into research and assessment in ’05-’06.



Advisory Committees:


The Aiken County Secondary Guidance Counselors Advisory committee consists of all the head guidance counselors at the Public Secondary schools in Aiken County. This group meets once a semester on the USCA campus with the Admissions staff to discuss local, state, national and international issues which may affect their students.  They serve in an advisory capacity and make recommendations to the admissions staff in regards to:


Discussions with this group have led to the staff initiating discussions with our SS&P and HAS committees about several issues, which have resulted in policy and procedure changes.  This group is a tremendous asset to the Office of Admissions.   This committee will continue to provide us with information and insight we need to effectively meet the needs of our prospective students.



Program Resource Needs


Personnel and Programming needs:


1.       With the coming of the OneCarolina ERP student information system, Admissions will face a staggering change in the way we handle the processing of applications for admission.  Anecdotal feedback from colleagues at other institutions and from team leaders with USC lead us to believe that our time commitment to the processing of each application will increase substantially.  I am therefore requesting funding in the amount of $31,500 for a full-time permanent position to assist with the processing of admission applications.  Two employees have managed these tasks for the past 14 years, with no increase in support while the numbers of applications have skyrocketed.  While the electronic application used for the past six years has reduced some of the data entry requirements, each increase in applications adds to the processing requirements on these staff members.  Unless we are satisfied with the prospect of increasing the amount of time it takes us to respond to our applicants – one of our true competitive strengths at this time – we must invest additional resources in this effort.


2.       In an effort to expand our recruitment reach statewide, we will need to institute a wide-ranging student search process.  Search, which involves buying students’ names and contact information from testing services or survey organizations and then sending them an unsolicited contact about our USCA, is a traditional means of getting our institution’s name in front of students who have not heard of us or investigated us.  I am requesting an initial $5,000 investment, which should cover purchase of 15,000+ student contacts. 


3.       Costs continue to increase for Advertising, Marketing, and Recruitment/Retention Initiatives, and while we have seen additions to our marketing budget (A022) over the last  two years, an additional $20,000.00 will allow us to maintain the same level of coverage that we have had in the past several years and expand our efforts a bit.  This additional marketing funding will be crucial to supporting efforts such as new expenses for “searchpiece” publication/postage to reach out to more distant areas of South Carolina that we’re targeting this year as well as additional advertising, website upgrades, postage, phonathon expenses, on- and off-campus workshops, travel, and professional development opportunities.


4.       Recruiting and enrolling more out-of-state students has been cited as an opportunity for growth for USC Aiken by many on our campus.  A proposal for an out-of-state recruitment plan is attached to this program review as Addendum A.  A list of personnel and programming needs is included as part of that plan.

5.       Additional office space is an issue that continues to grow more desperate.  We have been able to shoehorn our new part-time employee into the Enrollment Services suite lobby area and have added more shelving to our small storage room.  This year, we’re faced with having to find space for a new Admissions Counselor.  Again this year, I would like to request extra storage space within Penland (perhaps under the stairwells) for Admissions materials.  This may allow us to use our current storage room for a small makeshift office for the admissions counselor or a workroom.  We would also like to again request space for a conference room for meeting with prospective students and parents and to conduct staff meetings, which currently take place within full view of our visitors.  A more permanent opportunity may be to consider redefining our open student workspace into two additional offices (for our new counselor and requested processor).





Technology needs:


         Participation in the selection of and transition to the new OneCarolina ERP student information system will be by far the most challenging aspect of technology use/implementation in Admissions in the coming year.  Based on informal conversations and advice, our office is planning to undergo incredible slowdowns and increased workloads as the system is implemented.  Close coordination with USCA CSD and the OneCarolina selection/implementation team will be necessary to ensure as smooth a process as possible.


         Increasing campus bandwidth continues to be an issue for our use of DARwin for our transfer credit evaluation process.  Network slowdowns have reduced the effectiveness of our office in this area.  While we have been pleased with this new system overall, these speed issues must be answered by either Columbia or Aiken CSD.


         We must see, in conjunction with the campus Director of Visual Communications (webmaster), continuous upgrades and additions to the Admissions web site.  Students – and their parents – are continuing to increase their reliance upon institutional websites as one, and sometimes the, most important information gathering resource in the college search process.  The past year has seen in the implementation of an Admissions “web associate” for making minor day-to-day updates to our website, but larger scale upgrades and changes are dependent upon the webmaster.


         Admissions would like to request a “shared” campus purchase of a walkie-talkie system for use by campus members.  We envision a system that lies somewhere between the power/quality of what Operations/Public Safety use and those that can be purchased at Wal-Mart.  Having access to 8 or 10 of these would certainly be beneficial to Admissions for Freshman Friday, Second Saturday, Counselor Day, Bus Tour, etc. when our staff are stretched across campus and are trying to coordinate multiple activities at the same time.  Offices such as Records, Student Activities, Housing, Athletics, etc could reserve/check out the set of 8 – 12 units for special events, such as commencement, convocation, orientation, move-in days, polo match, etc.


         With the coming of the new OneCarolina ERP, we must prepare to shift our current Web-based application to one contracted by the SC CHE (College Net), as updates to provide more reliable automatic flow of information into/out of the IMS mainframe will not be available.


         Phase 2 of the continued improvement of our Web-based application.  As students apply for admission via the Web, the data is automatically added to the IMS mainframe. This year we would like to provide students the opportunity to have 24-hr access to the status of their admissions application and a variety of additional information.  We envision this “web portal” option, which is available at many of our competitors, being expanded in future years to include more and more information.


         Increased utilization of SPEEDE transcripts (seeking more partners).


Some of these are examples of issues that CSD Columbia has handled for us in the past and one of the biggest questions which we must answer is whether or not we continue to rely on Columbia or request additional services from Aiken CSD. In the past, Admissions has relied on the Columbia CSD staff to provide a tremendous amount of support, which is shrinking. They have provided leadership, human resources and finances in regards to our electronic application, Transcript Evaluation System and any Mainframe custom design – (web interfaces) issues.  It has recently been more difficult to get projects completed through Columbia and raises the issue of continuing to make additional requests of our Aiken CSD staff.


USC Aiken
Office of Admissions Staff

October 2005




Andrew Hendrix                                          Directs and administers all aspects of the undergraduate

Director of Admissions                                and graduate admissions office. (Recruitment, residency,

101 C Penland                                              NCAA Admissions compliance.)  Serves as a campus     

x 3490                                                            resource for enrollment issues.


Karen Morris                                                 Directs and administers graduate recruitment, enrollment,

Coordinator of Graduate Studies                 and record keeping.  Responsible for making residency

101 A Penland                                                decisions for both graduate and undergraduate students.

x 3489


Barbara Henkes                                          Interprets policies and procedures, state and federal laws

Asst. Director of Admissions                       in an effort to make appropriate admission decisions and

101 J Penland                                               assist with residency issues.

x 3478


Sandy DeWitt                                               Represents USCA in an effort to recruit transfer students.

Asst. Director of Admissions                       Counsels transfer students, family members and contact

(Transfer Students)                                       persons at the two-year colleges in the state.  Visits the 101 B Penland

                                                                        two-year colleges, creates and revises articulation

x 3363                                                           agreements coordinates the transfer process, develops on-

                                                                       campus transfer visitation programs.


Kristin Allen                                                Represents USCA in an effort to recruit students.  Recruits

Admissions Counselor                                new students, transfer students and assists students 

(High School Students)                               gaining readmission; conducts special programs with an

101 K Penland                                             an emphasis on high school and minority student

x 3454                                                           recruitment.  Counsels prospective parents and students

                                                                      as well as high school guidance counselors and administrators.


Kathy Brantley                                         Represents USCA in an effort to recruit students.  Recruits

Admissions Counselor                              new students, transfer students and assists students

(High School Students)                             gaining readmission.  Counsels prospective parents and

101 L Penland                                           students as well as high school guidance counselors and

x 3292                                                        administrators.


Ashley Ball                                              Represents USCA in an effort to recruit students.  Recruits

Admissions Counselor                            new students, transfer students and assists students

(High School Students)                           gaining readmission.  Counsels prospective parents and

101  Penland                                            students as well as high school guidance counselors and

X 3432                                                      administrators.



Aileen McTaggart                                Establishes files, makes admissions decisions and

Admissions Specialist                          communicates with applicants and accepted students.

101 G Penland                                       Provides data entry and other computer support for the

x 3556                                                     Office of Admissions.


Angela Taylor                                      Coordinates and manages the daily activities of the  

Office Manager                                     Admissions Office. Answers and directs incoming phone

101 Penland                                          phone calls, meets the public, schedules and supervises

x 3366                                                    student workers, maintains inventory of brochures and

                                                   supplies. Coordinates purchase requests and budgeting



Ashley Ball                                           Distributes credit evaluations to faculty evaluators, includes

DARwin/Transfer Credit Analyst         appropriate info in advisement folders, mails info to

101 Penland                                         students, builds/updates/revises articulation tables,

X3432                                                   performs and audits data entry of transfer courses into

                                                               DARS, compiles data for internal usage/reporting




Advisement Services

Program Review, 2004-2005


I.      Mission Statement

            The primary purpose of the Office of Advisement Services is to assist students in the development of meaningful educational plans compatible with their life goals.  The Office of Advisement Services coordinates advisement for the entire campus, which includes thirteen academic units.  The mission of the Office of Advisement Services is accomplished through a collaborative effort of the advisor and the student.  Recognizing that the ultimate responsibility of making decisions about life goals and educational plans rests with the individual student, the office personnel and faculty advisor assist by helping to identify and assess alternatives.  Together, the office personnel and the advisor provide guidance to the student in developing and completing an acceptable program of study leading to a degree.  The Office of Advisement Services also coordinates placement testing and works with students who are interested in changing their major, uncertain about their major, or wish to explore different majors.


II.     Unit Report

            The Office of Advisement Services realizes that effective advising is an essential component of the higher education process.  We recognize that effective advising is vital to students as they define and develop their interests, abilities, and goals.  We also know that effective advising does not just happen; it is the result of a carefully developed plan which relies on the commitment of the entire institution to excellence in advising.  The bottom line of effective advising is improving educational/career planning, facilitating academic success, fostering student growth and development, and lowering the dropout rate.

Our office continues to benefit from the addition of an academic counselor to our staff.   As mentioned in our review of last year, one of the primary responsibilities of this person is the coordination of all efforts associated with the First Year Advisement Program to help make it an effective and comprehensive component of the First Year Experience. During her second year in our office she has continued to make valuable contributions to our office.  As a result of her efforts there are specific functions of our office that are administered more efficiently.  She has voluntarily assumed responsibility for the maintenance of our department website.  She has modified it as such that it is now more easily navigated and aesthetically it is now a more homogeneous blend with the other departments’ websites.  She has continued to provide the first year advisors information at strategic points in the semester that has proven to be valuable tools in the advisement process.

A major accomplishment this past year was the implementation of the Gateway Program.  The Gateway Program is a first semester early intervention program for at-risk residential students.  These students were advised by five specially trained First Year advisors who provided them with a more intrusive first year advising experience.  Each advisor was assigned a maximum of 12 advisees each and met with them at six strategic points during the semester. See appendix A for a complete review of this program prepared by Sarah Keeling.

Enhancements were also made to early warning system.  The early warning form has been modified so they it can now be electronically submitted to our office. Our goal was to make the submission process less cumbersome for faculty, which will hopefully result in an increase in use of the form.

Another major accomplishment was the second annual first year advisor training session that was held this past summer.  The first day included information for all first year advisors and the second day was for new first year advisors.  During the first day of training we had presenters from various offices and programs on campus providing information that will help our first year advisors become better resources for our students.  The second day of training for new first year advisors included all the basics of the advisement and registration process.  Attendance during both days was very good.


            The only obstacles that our office faces are the lack of resources needed to reach more students that we know are in need of academic assistance and support.  Specifically, we would like to assist in programs designed to provide academic support to those students who are on probation and those who have been suspended and readmitted to the institution.



III.                Major Unit Goals


One of our goals is to strengthen the entire advisement program at USC Aiken.  We plan to do that by making ourselves available to more professional development opportunities so that we can bring this information back to all of our academic advisors.  As an office we have been very vocal regarding the integral role advisors play in the development and retention of our students.  In an effort to reinforce that belief we plan to have an academic advisement consultant visit our campus and review our current advisement process make recommendations as to how we can make improvements.  We also plan to present an advisement training session facilitated by one or two of the most respected advisement “gurus” associated with the National Academic Advising Association.   We also continue to offer training/information sessions on a variety of topics and explore/investigate the best way to get this information to our advisors.


We have begun the process of evaluating the present early warning system in an effort to determine what should be done to make this a more effective intervention system.  Several discussions have already taken place to determine our approach in refining this system.  Our goal is to combine some of the existing progress reports generated by different departments on campus and so as to increase faculty involvement in this system


The next academic year the university will explore the possibility of establishing a new provisional admissions program.  These students will take the place of our current Gateway students and will tentatively be advised by the current Gateway advisors.


            In addition to the new provisional admissions program, we also see another obstacle as one of our goals.  That is the obstacle of not being able to reach a broader population of students.  As I have said year after year we would very much like to be a part of program that addresses the needs of our students who are on probation and those who have been suspended and allowed back into the institution.  With the current probation and suspension levels it is possible for a student to earn a 1.8 grade point average or lower during her/his first semester of college and not be placed on probation or suspension.  It is also possible for that student to continue to make mediocre grades and have a cumulative grade point average of 1.8 for approximately six semesters (89 hours) before being placed on probation.  Once that student with the cumulative 1.8 grade point average reaches the range of between 90-105 grade point hours s/he is now on probation, but the minute s/he accumulates 106 hours s/he will be placed on academic suspension.  It will be very difficult for someone who has accumulated that many hours and who has a history of making average and below average grades to raise her/his cumulative grade point average to 2.0 within one semester.  For someone who has cruised along without any kind of formal intervention, they tend to gain a false sense of security.  We feel we have a moral obligation to assist these students in getting back on track academically before they find themselves on academic suspension.  We want to make certain that we are doing everything possible to ensure the success of our students.



 Transaction Data:

                        # of                           # of                  # of                              # of
                        changes of                 placement        students                students seen
Year                major/advisor             tests                 tested                      by Director

2005                  782                           16                     363                              495


                        # of                              # of                                        # of
                        placement tests           transfer credit                    early warning

Year                letters mailed              summaries requested         letters mailed

2005                1223                             110                                         5660

                        # of early warning         # of AEGL 101 &
                        forms received              AEGL 102 failure
Year                from faculty                   letters mailed to students

2005                293                                     227

The number for the changes of major/advisor does not include the additional 1400 to 1500 major/advisor transactions for new students that are processed by our area each year. 

Survey Information

          For the past eight years we have conducted a survey of advising during the advisement and priority registration period of the spring semester.  For the first four years there were a total of 15 questions on this survey. As indicated in last year’s review, in an effort to get a greater response from our students, the advisement survey instrument was revised during the 2001 - 2002 academic year.  There are now a total of eight questions on the survey.  Two of the questions relate to the student’s responsibility in the advisement process and the remaining questions relate to the student’s perception of her/his advisor and the advisement process. These questions are now rated on a scale from 1 – 5 (1-strongly disagree, 2-disagree, 3-neutral, 4-agree, and 5-strongly agree.  One of the questions on the survey is “My advisor helps me review my academic progress.”  The mean results for this question for 2004 and 2005 were 4.58 and 4.54, respectively. Another question is “Overall, I am satisfied with my advisor.”   The mean results for this question for 2004 and 2005 were 4.71 and 4.7, respectively. There are also two questions regarding advisement on the annual student survey and one question on the alumni survey.  Although the results of these surveys have been positive we are always seeking ways that we can make this process most effective for our students.

V.        Program Resource Needs

v      Funds to invite one or two nationally known advisement experts to campus to present a one day or day and a half workshop on the importance of the advisement process in the development and retention of our students.  We would also need funds to bring an advisement consultant on campus to review the current advisement process.  The consultant fee through the National Academic Advising Association is $500.00 per day.  The consultant may also be the same person to present the workshops.  That being said, we would like to request funds totaling $1,500.00 for the consultation as well as the workshop.

v      Funds to hire two office personnel to handle the additional duties associated with the new provisional admissions program and the enhancement of both the first year advising program and the early warning system.  These two individuals may be able to assist in the Advisement Services Office as well as the Office of Academic Support and the First Year Experience.

v      “R” funds to cover the meals/snacks associated with training sessions and workshops. ($500.00)

v      Increase three line items in annual budget.  Our postage budget should be increased to accommodate the annual mailings.  We would like to increase this line item by $2,200.00, for a total of $4,200.00. Recently we sent a piece of correspondence to students which included the final drop date.  We sent this information utilizing bulk mail.  The students did not receive the letter until after the drop date.  We need to send this notification via first class mail.  In addition to this mailing we also send initial notification of placement testing dates to our prospective students as well as English and foreign language failure letters to our currently enrolled students.  Our printing budget also needs to be increased now that our office is responsible for printing advisement forms.  We would like to increase this line item by $1,000.00 for a total of $3,900.00. We would also like an increase in our ISE budget by $1,000.00 for a total of $2796.00.  It would be very beneficial to our office if we had student support during the summer months.



Career Services Office

Program Review, 2004-2005



The mission of the Career Services Office is to assist all USCA students with their career-related concerns -- choosing a college major, choosing a career, career planning, experiential learning and job search. Realizing that career planning is a lifelong process, our objective is to teach effective self-assessment and skill development that will aid students and alumni in their pursuit of career goals.  The office advises students to get involved early in career planning and assists them with taking charge of their career future through self-empowerment.  It is the goal of Career Services to work in partnership with faculty, staff and the community towards student development.  Another component of the office’s mission is the posting of on-campus student employment positions and the campus-wide segment of student employment training.  Along with providing quality services, as a member of the Enrollment Services Division, Career Services strives to assist with the attraction and retention of all students.


UNIT REPORT FOR 2004 - 2005


Major Accomplishments

         Major Mondays

Fall 2004 saw the implementation of the Major Mondays Program at the Pacer Commons residence hall. Each Monday a different academic major was featured, and career planning issues were discussed relating to that major. For several sessions, upper level students from the featured major attended to speak to and answer questions.

While some majors had better turn outs than others, over 50 students attended the program for the fall semester. The success ensured that Major Mondays will run again during the 2005-2006 year.

         Career Day 2005

For the first time in the current Career Service Director’s tenure, the annual career fair was held in a different location. Career Day 2005 took place in the SAC Gym resulting in more room, more employers, and more students. Employer feedback was very positive on the location. The only negative is that we must wait until late March in order to secure the location due to the schedule of the basketball team.

         GRE Testing

February 2005 saw the second year that Career Services sponsored a program to help students practice for various graduate school entrance exams. The Kaplan testing group from Columbia administered several practice exams including the GRE, GMAT, MCAT, VCAT, and PCAT. The event was very successful with over 50 students showing up.

         ASUP 101

Fall 2003 was the sixth year the Director of Career Services taught the ASUP 101 class. Evaluations have continued to be good.

* Activities

Professional association memberships include:

* National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE)

* Southeast Association of Colleges and Employers (SACE)

* South Carolina Association of Colleges and Employers (SCACE)

* American Association for Employment in Education (AAEE)


Campus Activities:

* First Year Advising

* Advisor to a student organization

* Refund Appeals Committee

* Student Grievance Committee

* New Staff Sponsor


Community involvement includes:

* Help Line Board of Directors

* Junior Leadership County Board of Directors



* An extremely large challenge was losing two full-time staff members at the end of October. The Administrative Assistant position went unfilled for over two months, but was rehired in January. The Coordinator of Experiential Education and Employer Relations position is still unfilled. This has halted any development of the experiential education program in Career Services.  


* With the incomplete development of the experiential education database, it becomes important for Career Services to find other avenues to manage its information. With this in mind, it is time to again explore outside vendors that offer functional databases to manage information. A few years ago, these vendors were too expensive for small colleges with small budgets. However, this is no longer the case, and affordable systems may be available.


* With the departure of the Administrative Assistant, the Career Services Office no longer had an individual to update and maintain the office webpage. Though one of the student employees could update some information, there was no way to make the major changes necessary to maintain a website. It was decided to then convert the format of the webpage to align with most other offices on campus, and train the new Administrative Assistant to maintain that format. Thus, our challenge is to convert our website over to the new format during the fall semester and be able to maintain it.





* Hire a Coordinator of Experiential Education and Employer Relations Though a temporary person may occupy this position until early spring, it is imperative that we fill this position before summer 2006. Proper programs and services for experiential education cannot take place until this happens.

* Review current philosophy, organizational structure, administration, and assessment processes involved in the Student Employment program at USCA.  Make recommendations for a new student developmental approach.


*Introduce the USCA “four year career planning model to all freshmen entering USCA next fall.  Collaborate with the Orientation Planning Committee, First Year Experience Committee, AFYS instructors, First Year Advisors and others to introduce this new approach to Career Development.   We will aggressively engage this class and future entering classes throughout their collegiate career to the process of career planning. 

* Explore, purchase and implement a software system to manage information

Now that these systems are affordable to small colleges, the Career Services Office must determine which system is the best fit for the office.


* Convert and maintain the Career Services website

All staff members must be trained in how to update the website.


 Office Statistics and Evaluations (see Appendix A)

            * Individual counseling/advisement appointments

            * Experiential education placements

            * Presentations

            * Presentation evaluations

            * MBTIs administered

            * Strong Interest Inventories administered

            * Student Employment Program

* Career events and evaluations


All evaluations are used to make any needed changes to presentations or career events. For example, Career Services held its spring career fair in a different location and at a different time because of some feedback from evaluations.


Technology and Budget

The biggest need for the Career Services Office is a software system to manage its information. Currently we are exploring a couple of vendors and would need approximately $1000.00 a year to maintain a system.


Upgrade of all (3) student computers.  (Can not effectively run software.)


“R” Funds

A typical year in Career Services would need “R” funds for the following:

Career Panels (approximately $200.00)

Major Mondays (approximately $150.00)

Staff retreat lunch (approximately $40.00)


Also, with the need to run another search for the Coordinator of Experiential Education, we will again need some assistance from “R” funds. Thus, approximately $70.00 in “R” funds will be needed.




2004-2005 Program Review



I.  Mission Statement


The general purpose of the USC Aiken Financial Aid Office is to help students and parents meet their educational expenses at the University of South Carolina Aiken. Financial assistance is awarded in the areas of scholarships, grants, loans, employment, or a combination of these programs. The primary responsibility for financing post-secondary education rests with the student and family; however, the financial aid office is available to assist applicants in obtaining financial aid to bridge the gap between the educational cost and what the student and family are reasonably expected to contribute. Our office is committed to timely delivery of financial aid proceeds in accordance with all federal, state and institutional regulations. The financial aid staff develops aid packages that are parallel with the institution’s recruitment and retention efforts. In the development of an awarding philosophy for need-based aid, we identify students with the greatest need and earliest "application received date" and seek to award students the best financial aid package possible, consisting of a combination of grants, loans, and work programs. In the awarding of merit-based scholarships, we seek to serve qualified applicants in a manner that enhances student retention and also attracts the caliber of student to USC Aiken that will support the University’s mission. The financial aid staff constantly seeks input from other University offices to insure that our unit goals support the University as a whole.


II. Year in Review


Major Accomplishments


a.       Improvement in communication between the Financial Aid Office and the Office of Advancement that will lead to improved scholarship procedures..

b.   Continued with default reduction plans. Latest Cohort Default Rate of 2.6% remains low, 

      the rate is the same as last year  

   c.     Completion of the final phases of a Non-Federal/Alternative loan electronic transmission


   d.    Continue with additional enhancements in the Federal Pell Grant Reporting Process.

   e.    Continued improvement of the Athletic Scholarship data base. Athletic awards sent to  

          student athletes via. e-mail for the 1st time this year.

   f.    Financial Aid Web page improvement and expansion.

   g.   Excellent audit results, but still awaiting final written results of external audit that was  

         completed last summer as well as this summer.

   h.   Expansion of use of the document scanning system. A major improvement in our office this


   i.   Increased the availability of printable forms offered on our web page for student


   j.   Expansion of statistics used for review of our state aid programs.

   k.   Full utilization of Federal College Work-Study Allocation. Initial discussions to  

        consider an USCA student employment advisory board. Also implementing plans to

        expand our America Reads Program.

   l.   Implemented a different approach to reviewing federal tax returns for verification.

   n.  Many other very detail improvements that resulted in better student service.













III. Assessment Activities


a) Staffing Analysis

(Student to counselor ratio is approximately 917 to 1)

The Financial Aid Office permanent staff consists of the following seven members:


  (Full time staff) = 8

  (Part time staff) = 0

  (Student employees) = 2-3


Director of Financial Aid – The Director is responsible for a multifaceted Student Services department, including assisting students and parents regarding financial aid programs and procedures; exercising fiscal responsibility for federal, state and other resources; budget management; and the development of policies and procedures which enhance the recruitment and retention of students through effective, highly visible, highly automated, and timely delivery of financial aid services; position under limited supervision. Provide leadership in administering the Office of Financial Aid, including a volume of approximately ten million dollars in federal grant, loan, and federal work-study programs. Also, directly responsible for coordinating the athletic, State Needs Based Grant, and academic scholarship programs. Serves as liaison and resource person for outside constituencies involved in various tuition assistance programs. Develops and implements office goals related to the general mission of the University; assures compliance with appropriate federal, state, and institutional regulations. Oversight responsibility for the administration, reporting, reconciliation reports for the Palmetto Fellows Scholarship Program, Legislative Incentives for Future Excellence (LIFE) Scholarship, South Carolina Needs Based Grant Program, and SC HOPE Scholarship Program.


Assistant Director of Financial Aid – The Assistant Director of Financial Aid is responsible for administering a comprehensive computer data management system and for integrating a mainframe financial aid database with USC Aiken financial aid processing, awarding, and fund disbursement. The Assistant Director serves as liaison to the University Computer Services Division in Columbia, SC to initiate computer system modification and enhancement, and as liaison to the USC Aiken Finance Office to ensure the regulatory compliance of fiscal operations. The Assistant Director develops and implements financial aid application and award tracking operations to ensure compliance with federal regulations and to provide accurate data for fiscal management reports. Responsible for the oversight of the Satisfactory Academic Progress monitoring for all Title IV financial aid applicants, involving approximately 250-350 students each academic year.


Program CoordinatorLoans – Responsible for the coordination and administration of the subsidized and unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan Program, Parental Loan Program and the South Carolina Teachers Loan Program, with an annual loan volume of approximately five million dollars. Assures compliance with appropriate federal, state and institution regulations, polices and procedures; represents the institution at professional meetings and organizations related to all student loan processes for parents and students.


Program CoordinatorFederal Work Study, Federal Grants – Under minimal supervision, administers and monitors the federal work-study program; provides technical and accounting support for the Federal Pell Grant and FSEOG programs; special emphasis placed on understanding and comprehending the regulations concerning Federal Pell Grant, FSEOG, and Work-Study as they impact the financial aid office in its entirety. Supervises the completion of financial aid transcripts in accordance with federal financial aid regulations and uses regulations to coordinate appropriate communication channels with Vocational Rehabilitation, Social Services, and other outside agencies.


Program Coordinator Scholarships - Assists in the review of over 4500 financial aid applications. Completes applications in the preparation for the automated award process or manually awards financial aid packages in accordance with state and federal regulations. Counsels students and parents concerning financial aid programs. Direct responsibility for the state student aid programs, including the LIFE, HOPE and SC State Needs-Based Grant Program. Responsible for the administration of outside grant programs from Vermont and the New England Area. Assist with the GRE Fee Wavier Program.


Administrative Specialist – This position is responsible for greeting and preliminary advisement of financial aid office clients, performing advanced administrative support duties, assisting with the application and award tracking processes and assisting with the on-line financial aid data management system. Uses general knowledge of federal aid program requirements to prioritize and perform work assignments.


Accounting Technician – This position is responsible for the fiscal management of four federal student aid programs. Duties include monitoring of expenditures and account reconciliation with University Management Reports, the University Student Account System, and the automated financial aid system. Other duties include processing of refund vouchers and establishment of individual repayment schedules for students who withdraw and/or drop courses. This position is also responsible for obtaining and documenting the accuracy of data related to the Annual Federal Fiscal Operations Report and Application to Participate (FISAP)*.


Verification Analysis- Provides administrative support to the Assistant Director by overseeing the day to day operation of the verification process. Assist in file maintenance. Also reviews tax returns and other related documents. Remains current with federal regulations and assist with audit information. Maintains a document tracking system. Reviews conflicting file data and seeks resolution as needed.


b)   Number of Undergraduate Students Served


The annual statistical summary report generated for our office by the USC Columbia Computer Services Division primarily provides data related to the number of applicants need calculations, and dollars awarded and received by USC Aiken students. However, there is much more “background” required to adequately reflect what is defined as service to our consumers.


The following information is provided to better define the financial aid applicant file process and to focus on some of the complex items related to processing. All students must have complete files before awards can be made; however, more information is needed for certain populations of applicants than others. In other words: to serve the student that requires additional follow-up, the financial aid office staff must conduct an extensive review of data submitted by a large percentage of applicants. As of 10/14/05, our office has received 4,585 applications for some type of financial assistance with 8 months remaining in the 2005-2006 academic year. 3,904 of the 4,585 are applications, which include requests for all federal student aid programs, which include 3 federal loan programs; federal work-study and 3 grant programs. Each program has specific eligibility criteria, and each applicant’s file must be analyzed to determine eligibility for each program. For the past seven years, our office has experienced an increase in applicant volume of about 12% each year.


A total of 46.34% of the federal student aid applicants (almost exactly the same as last year) are chosen for verification by the federal need analysis processor. The file for each applicant must be complete prior to the awarding of federal aid, or in other words; to serve the student that is chosen for verification, the financial aid office must:


1)       Request and Review the appropriate federal tax return(s) of the applicant and/or parents


2)       Request and Review an approved verification form from each applicant


3)       Request and Review non-taxable information


4)       Verify applicant match with the Immigration, Naturalization Service Department, Social Security Administration and Selective Service Department


5)       Resolve any data item conflict for each applicant


6)       Obtain all appropriate student certification signatures


             7) We are now required to determine if applicants, parents and students have filed the correct tax returns or if they should have filed tax returns at all per. current IRS guidelines and notify applicants of our findings and resolve all issues, which often requires refilling tax information.


Due to this and other regulatory requirements, unfortunately, we can easily have 3 to 10 contacts for each applicant. With over one-half of our applicant pool required to complete the verification process, the information exchange can be complex to complete. Also, in addition to verification requirements, much more documentation can be needed to complete files from transfer students, athletes, out-of-state students, previous federal loan borrowers, exchange students, special enrolled students, etc.


For the past few years, approximately 38% of our applicants meet the definition of independent filers. Due to the increase in non-traditional applicants, our counseling loads continue to be more complex and require additional time for counseling sessions.


c) Number of Other Patrons/Clients Served


Our office staff works closely with USCA Offices, other USC campus staff, state and federal agencies.


Financial Aid Nights, High School presentations – During each year we conduct 5-10 workshops at area high schools. We participate in Orientation sessions, other community programs, and “Fantastic Fridays” programs on campus. Estimated number: approximately 900-1,200 potential students served.


For the week of fall 2005 registration, our office averaged over 360 students coming into the office every day.


d) Transaction Data


In review of the financial aid process, it is obvious that much of our work consists of various forms of student and parent correspondence. This comes in the form of letters, phone calls, personal contacts, etc.


         On average, the financial aid officer receives 920 phone calls per month or about 60-70 per day. The month of August is extremely busy, with over 2,300 calls received during this month. (To the best of our tracking ability.)

         Our office must monitor all federal aid applicants' Satisfactory Academic Progress, both qualitatively and quantitatively. Each year, we mail approximately 400-475 letters related to this measurement.

         For loan specific issues, we mail approximately 1,350 letters each year.

         For merit-based scholarships and outside tuition assistance programs, we mail approximately 2800 letters each year.

         For athletic scholarship applicants, we mail 250-300 letters each year.

         Each year we review applicant files selected for verification; this represents approximately 1,600 files and approximately 3100 tax returns and over 4,500 associated documents.

         The bulk of our letters are in the form of general award notices, and exception follow-up letters, representing a total of 12,500-13,500 letters annually.

         In terms of data entry transactions, our office uses 40 processing screens, 16 fund entry screens, and 7 code sets to perform our duties. Incorporated in these screens are 98 exception codes, and over 40 edit codes. In other words, we have the second largest database in the USC system and we rely on the USC mainframe computer system tremendously to accomplish our required functions.  Also, we use special U.S. Department of Education software packages and web-based interphases in our daily operations.

         With the expansion of the South Carolina Student Aid Programs, we have mailed an additional 2300 letters to students concerning information related to these programs.



e)  Qualitative Measurements


Over the past years, the Office of Financial aid has conducted various surveys that assist us in obtaining data to better serve our students and parents. During the 2004-2005 year, we will be completing two surveys: 1) cost of Education Survey, 2) User Perception survey. We will be conducting these surveys to obtain the latest data to develop our cost of education budgets for use in determining need for the various aid programs and a survey that will gain feedback from students on their opinions of how they were served by our office. The data received from these surveys will be reviewed and changes made to our processes, if needed, based on this input.

(Note: Adjustments have been made due to responses from survey number 1. We are still reviewing the data for survey number 2.)


IV.  External Advisory Committees


a)       Financial Aid/CSD-USC System Advisory Committee - Paula Stribling and Glenn Shumpert serve on this committee to review yearly changes and implement new processes or modify existing processes to best serve our students and maintain required compliance. This is an ongoing process, with no term limits. The decisions reached from these meetings directly affects our students as it relates to the delivery of student aid.


b)       USC System Satisfactory Progress (SAP) Task Force - Paula Stribling and Glenn Shumpert serve on this committee. Changes are needed in our method of SAP assessment(s). This committee, along with related programming changes will exist for about two years. The primary objective is to update issues related to compliance and also implement a process that students can better understand, and to reduce the number of SAP appeals in certain sectors of program of studies, enrolled in by our students.


c)       South Carolina Student Loan Corporation- Glenn Shumpert  has been chosen for a 3 year commitment  on their Advisory Board.


  d)  South Carolina  Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, ( SCASFAA)-Glenn   

Shumpert  has been appointed to chair the Legislative Concerns Committee He will also be serving on the Southern Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators,(SASFAA) Legislative Committee.


e) Glenn Shumpert is also involved with various state committees and testifies before the General Assembly on state aid programs per. request by Sheathe General Assembly and the Institution.


V.  Personnel and Program Resource Needs


A need for some additional professional travel money is required to be able to attend training sessions in order to keep up with ever changing regulations.  Our office did receive additional money this year for professional development that will make a positive impact; however, as in past years, some of these dollars will be shifted to cover overages in postage expenditures.


Our office and the USCA Financial Aid Committee need additional empowerment to implement and enforce deadlines for submission of appeals related to the Satisfactory Academic Progress, (SAP) procedures. (Detail information about this issue available).


I.  Technology Issues and Needs


o        We need assistance from CTC on implementing expanded electronic contact options that would serve all of our students.


o        We will need to continue the review  the DARWIN system. Over the past year, the data provided through DARWIN has been untimely and conflicting to the point that we may have institutional liability concerning decisions on state scholarships and federal loan certifications.


o        We also need full clarification about the USC System LIFE Scholarship screen and access to use the screens. We have improved the clarification and have increased our access to these screens, however there remains a need for clarification related to transfer credits.

o        We could use an additional computer in our student work station area from the migration process

o        Additional travel money may be needed as relates to the One Carolina Project

o        Also, we would like to explore “flex” working hours for our staff should certain duties be  

      completed with the use of hardware at home and to reduce the cost of travel to and from      

      work for employees that live a distance from the University.









The mission of the Office of the Registrar is to:







            The addition of a temporary, full-time Administrative Specialist position this year has made a tremendous impact in the quantity and quality of work completed in our office.  This position has resulted in a higher level of user satisfaction and allowed us to extend additional assistance and provide badly needed DARS workshops to the faculty and staff.  The further refinement and implementation of the DARS system, and the new discipline based transcript evaluation process has created a tremendous increase in the amount of work for this office, and is a critical concern.   While we may not be able to claim much credit, the decision of the Associate Registrar to remain at USCA is viewed by us as a major accomplishment.


The appearance of our office has also changed. With the hiring of a new employee for the front desk and production of ID cards, it was possible to create a space for the VA Coordinator to serve VA students and accomplish all her other duties associated with scheduling rooms for meetings and assume additional duties as well.   With the funds which were allocated for furniture we have been able to create a much more attractive and safe reception area.


            In January 2005, the web version of the Degree Audit Reporting System (DARS) became available, and this has made accessing this system easier for the average advisor.  The DARSWEB version requires no installation and will work on a PC or a MAC.  In April 2005 a discipline-based transfer credit evaluation system was implemented, and this method of evaluating transcripts has resulted in a more knowledgeable, equitable type of evaluation for all in-coming transfer students.




            For many years we have encountered a tremendous challenge in regards to student and faculty misunderstandings regarding our general education requirements and their application and selection as students progress towards graduation.  The Degree Audit Reporting System (DARS) is an exciting, much more efficient advisement and degree audit tool which can revolutionize the way we document, track and communicate these and many other requirements to our faculty and students.  It is a tool which all advisors need to understand and utilize.


            The discipline-based transfer evaluation method has brought about a major impact in the way the Records Office processes transient and concurrent credit for our own students.  Now the Student Records Manager is responsible for verifying how credit will transfer in cases where an articulation table has already been developed or must refer the student to the unit head responsible for evaluating that particular discipline.


            Because of the various impacts DARS has had on the campus and certain offices, it has become more and more apparent that the University needs one person devoted completely to this project.  (See Personnel and Programming).


            The VAOnce system, originally advertising as a quick, seamless, innovative way to certify veterans’ enrollments, has proven to be anything but efficient.  The VA student experiences none of the benefits of this system since the Veterans Administration is still at least 60-90 days behind on any one case, and it is no easier for the VA Coordinator so all certifications for USC Aiken are still submitted manually.  The primary problem for the VA Coordinator now is getting the Veterans Administration to pay the VA work-study students.  In the past, work-study payments were processed in Columbia.  These checks now come out of Atlanta, and even getting a phone call through to even check on a payment can take hours.   The Veterans Administration has also proposed a new chapter, 1609, for service personnel returning from the wars on terror.  The VA Coordinator anticipates a substantial increase in students receiving veterans benefits once these wars end.


            Possibly the most dramatic challenge we are facing is the purchase and implementation of a new student database for the USC system.  This has been discussed for years and has had everyone in a state of panic for some time.  The possibility of not being able to continue some of the programs and policies we offer at USC Aiken because of the threat to make us “one system” has been held over our heads by some involved in the project, while others have reassured us that changing the database should not necessitate a change in policies.  The deadlines involved in this project have been moved back again and again so we continue to wait and worry.  Added to this pending project is the cost and availability of gasoline on our departmental budgets should any of us in Aiken be required to travel back and forth to Columbia to meet concerning this major project.




One of the major goals is a reorganization of our office.  As the years have passed, various

responsibilities have been assigned to the employee who happened to be handy—not necessarily the employee who is either physically located in the best place or the most logical person for the task.  The VA Coordinator formerly worked the front desk as well, and over the years has been given numerous detail-oriented responsibilities such as event scheduling and a suspension database.  The Student Records Manager has been given numerous additional responsibilities involving the Degree Audit Reporting System--responsibilities which are not only time-consuming but very cumbersome in many cases, yet this same employee has the constant interruptions involved with enrollment verifications and Records Office forms.  We hope to make the work flow of all our tasks more efficient and logical by the reorganization as well as the Personnel and Programming changes as requested further in this document.


            During the past year, the Registrar was unable to completely accomplish all the goals related to training opportunities on the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, the South Carolina Family Privacy Act of 2002, the PATRIOT Act of 2001, and other current topics involving privacy and security.  Reorganization will hopefully free up the necessary time for this and other goals.


            The VA Coordinator, Chi Delta Chi, and the History Club are working together to develop a Veterans’ Day celebration for Friday, November 11th.  There are few students actually on campus for Memorial Day so it was decided veteran students, faculty, and staff would be most likely be on campus during this holiday.  As of mid-September, plans include the possibility of patriotic music on the quad during the lunch hour and extending an invitation to recruiters from the armed services to set up during that time.



The assessment activities for the office remain focused on those items available for

students to evaluate in their annual survey.




            Some interesting facts and figures from the Office of the Registrar:



1,932                           Room requests for meetings, groups—this outside of the classes/labs scheduled.  This usually involves an initial phone call/email/direct contact request, a possible place discovered or an alternate located, checking on two separate recording systems, and ultimately booking and recording the event.  The requestor must submit a Facilities Request Form, obtain appropriate signatures, send to Sherene Power, then double check all the facts, times, etc. as previously discussed.  The reverse must occur for a cancellation.  The event planners for the campus have monthly planning and organizational meetings.

2,209                           ID cards made for students, staff, and faculty from September 04-August 05.  This includes special production times for groups such as the Teacher Cadets and offering Saturday production times for Move in Day at Pacer Downs/Pacer Commons.

$1414.62                      Film for ID card system.

$611,483.00                 Fees generated and books purchases by veterans Spring 2005, Summer I  2005, Summer II 2005, and Fall 2005.  Detailed breakdown follows as addendum.

635                                                            Degree applications for December 04-August 05.  Of these, each degree candidate had an initial packet containing a two-page letter with four inserts.  A final one-page newsletter is mailed as the ceremony date approaches.  Students whose degree applications are disapproved are also sent letters. 

December 04:  202 bachelors degrees conferred

                            3 masters degrees conferred

                                                         30 associate degrees conferred

                                                         19 disapproved applications

                              May 05:            238 bachelors degrees conferred

                                                        12 masters degrees conferred

                                                         19 associate degrees conferred

                                                        31 disapproved applications


                              August 05:          67 bachelors degrees conferred

                                                          8 masters degrees conferred

                                                          0 associate degrees conferred

                                                          6 disapproved applications     

$827 approx                 Cost of postage for communicating via mail everything every degree  

                                     candidate needs to know at every step of the way.

4,500 approx.               Tickets distributed to degree candidates to give to their family and    friends at two Commencement events.             

103                                                            Grade changes in 2004

116                                                            Grade changes in 2005 to date


64                                                               Transient permissions within the system (Fall 04-Summer II 05)

116                                                            Transient, other institutions (same period)

42                                                             Concurrent within the system (same period)

46                                                             Concurrent at other institutions (same period)

117                                                            Changes of campus processed in 2004

137                                                            Changes of campus processed to date in 2005

47                                                               General petitions processed Fall 2004-August 2005

5                                                                   Academic Forgiveness requests considered and approved

73                                    Reinstatement petitions considered by the Scholastic Standing and                    

                                Petitions Committee

$500                             Revenue generated for proctoring non-USC exams

162                                                            Teacher cadets Fall 2004 (increase from 154)

192                                                            Teacher cadets Spring 2005 (increase from 192)

11                                                               Number of times we submitted cancellations for unprocessed tuition Fall 2004 through Summer II 2005. This involves written notices to approximately 591 (down from 770)

141                                                            Enrollment discrepancy notices mailed Fall 2004-Summer II 2005

1                                                                   Master schedule of classes produced for each semester; however, updates are non-stop.

1781                                                        Sections of classes for semesters Fall 2004-Summer II 2005

4                                                                   Registration Summary Booklets produced

8                                                                   Buildings on campus to schedule for classes/labs

79                                                               Classrooms utilized Fall 2004

83                                                               Classrooms utilized Spring 2005

46                                                               Classrooms utilized Summer I 2005

24                                                               Classrooms utilized Summer II 2005

161                               Independent study/contract classes Fall 2004-Summer II 2005

10                                 Number of times course tallies were distributed

1                                                                   Bulletin produced, reflecting the following:

77                                 New courses (up from 33)

48                                 Course deletions (up from 16)

86                                 Course changes (up from 59)

12                                 Program changes (down from 15)

 2                                 New programs (Honors Program and BA in Education/middle level  



Bulletin changes included: change in the Admissions requirements to include minimum SAT/ACT scores, addition of a statement to the Academic Regulations section of the Masters Degree Program in Clinical Psychology limiting the number of years students have to complete the degree requirements, change in the BSN program’s Progression and Retention policy, addition of a statement in the BSN Program designating professional nursing courses be limited to candidates who are successfully accepted into the USCA nursing program, addition of a footnote to the BSN program identifying accepted Chemistry courses, deletion of the Professional Liability section from the School of Nursing, addition of the complete address of the National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission, Inc., change in courses that can be offered for advanced placement in the School of Nursing, change in the Sociology Department in the number of a times a major course in which a grade of C is earned may be repeated, editorial changes in the Academic Forgiveness Policy, deletion of ACOM 440 as an Applied Speech Communication requirement,  change to the Professional Program Admission in the School of  Business, change in the Foreign Language requirement in the Humanities section of the General Education requirements, change in the list of courses identified as Humanities courses and as Non-Western courses as a result of course additions/changes/deletions, change in the Foreign Language placement requirements, change in the degree admission requirements in the Master of Education degree and the Master of Educational Technology degree, change in the mid-point evaluation and final evaluation in the Master of Education degree, deletion of  the phrase “an associate degree in Nursing” from the USCA Mission statement, changed the name of the Foreign Language Department to the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, change in the Languages, Literatures and Cultures Mission statement, change in Languages, Literatures and Cultures to identify introductory courses and courses taught in translation, replaced the word “foreign language” with “languages” throughout the bulletin.



570                                      Number of “potential” transfer students who submitted transcripts for consideration, evaluation, and feedback.  This is the number only since the inception of the discipline based evaluation system in April 2005 through mid-September.  The hours of work represented by this number revolve around hours of work being evaluated by the Transfer Credit Analyst and audited by the Registrar.


5 of 13              Number of academic units using the Degree Audit Reporting System on at

                        least a somewhat regular basis


22                                         Number of advisors training to use DARS during September 2005. 

Total number of advisors using DARS at this time is unknown.





Our primary need in this area would be additional travel money to fund trips to

meetings in Columbia for the new student database.  The University is also experiencing the gasoline price increases like everyone else.  While we do not know the full extent of participation by our office, we feel that it safe to at least request an additional $2,000 in travel for this purchase just in case this project does start rolling along and the Registrar is expected to make frequent trips during the implementation stages.  This amount could certainly be shared among other offices in the division or on campus, but someone at USC Aiken needs to be thinking about the travel funds for this project, whether it is this year or next. 


            We are requesting nothing else in this area.  The Chief Information Officer has been very helpful in obtaining used computers being cycled through various areas to be assigned to our area for students to use in accessing VIP for registration and other transactions.  We have enough equipment and furniture for the new position being requested in the Personnel and Programming section. 



We are requesting two personnel changes this year:


1—The development of a Degree Audit Specialist position, which will be a full-time permanent position, shared by both Records and Admissions, but physically located in the Records Office with several additional responsibilities not specifically pertaining to DARS but in that same realm of college credits. 


2—The change from a full-time temporary position for our front desk person to be a full-time permanent slot for an Administrative Assistant. 


            The rationale behind this request is that currently there are four employees on campus who are juggling an assortment of DARS-related responsibilities.  This includes the Student Records Manager who has announced her retirement in December 2005, the Assistant Director of Admissions, the Transfer Credit Analyst in Admissions, and the Registrar.  The Admissions side of the DARS project—the development of articulation tables from incoming transcripts—can be done by both the Transfer Credit Analyst as well as the Assistant Director of Admissions.  Currently, only the Registrar is programming the degree requirements and has no backup on this project.  Additionally, the Registrar has gradually begun assuming the duties related to auditing each transfer student’s progress report.  During this academic year, DARSWEB will become available to students through VIP so as this system becomes more available and is used by more people, it has become apparent that a full-time permanent position needs to be developed.


            By combining the two temporary positions mentioned above (Admissions DARS position and Records Administrative Specialist position) along with the anticipated salary savings occurred due to a retirement in our office, we should be able to accomplish this reorganization and reassignment of duties and realize a cost savings as well.  The space, furniture, and computers for these two slots are already available in 109/Penland, and the Records Office also had budget a work-study student who would be re-assigned to the Degree Audit Specialist.  The Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Services has the salary breakdown.


            The final request in this area is to remove the responsibility for proctoring exams from our area.  Again, there simply is not a proper place to do justice to this responsibility in Suite 109/Penland.



Veteran’s Info.  Spring 2005


Number of Students

VA Chapter and Description


Ch. 1606 – Reserves/National Guard


Ch. 30 – Prior active duty; receiving the GI Bill


Ch. 30Sumter students paying USC-Aiken Tuition and Fees


Ch. 31 – Vocational Rehabilitation; Tuition, Fees and appropriate expenses paid by government


Ch. 31Sumter Students


Ch. 35 – Spouse or child of Veteran killed or 100% disabled in the line of duty


Students withdrew during Spring 2005

Total:   84







Veteran’s Info.  Maymester/ Summer I 2005


Number of Students

VA Chapter and Description


Ch. 1606 – Reserves/National Guard


Ch. 30 – Prior active duty; receiving the GI Bill


Ch. 30Sumter students paying USC-Aiken Tuition and Fees


Ch. 31 – Vocational Rehabilitation; Tuition, Fees and appropriate expenses paid by government


Ch. 31Sumter Students


Ch. 35 – Spouse or child of Veteran killed or 100% disabled in the line of duty

Total:   46








Veteran’s Info. Summer II 2005


Number of Students

VA Chapter and Description


Ch. 1606 – Reserves/National Guard


Ch. 30 – Prior active duty; receiving the GI Bill


Ch. 30Sumter students paying USC-Aiken Tuition and Fees


Ch. 31 – Vocational Rehabilitation; Tuition, Fees and appropriate expenses paid by government


Ch. 31Sumter Students


Ch. 35 – Spouse or child of Veteran killed or 100% disabled in the line of duty

Total:  19












Veteran’s Info. Fall 2005


Number of Students

VA Chapter and Description


Ch. 1606 – Reserves/National Guard


Ch. 30 – Prior active duty; receiving the GI Bill


Ch. 30Sumter students paying USC-Aiken Tuition and Fees


Ch. 31 – Vocational Rehabilitation; Tuition, Fees and appropriate expenses paid by government


Ch. 31Sumter Students


Ch. 35 – Spouse or child of Veteran killed or 100% disabled in the line of duty


Ch. 35- Sumter Students

Total:  88





     $ 285,179