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Business Officer Magazine

Game On

Wittenberg University rolls out a pilot project designed to help first-year students think about their upcoming expenses.

Last year, Wittenberg University, Springfield, Ohio, rolled out My Financial Game Plan, a pilot designed to help first-year students think about their upcoming expenses. (Read also "On-Campus Advocates" in the November issue of Business Officer.)

"I put together My Financial Game Plan to help first-year students who are anxious about the financial aspect of the college experience," explains Doug Schantz, director, office of student accounts. "Before they come to campus or get a bill in the mail, students are asked about their financial game plan."

Being Proactive

Schantz, working in conjunction with the university's IT department, developed the game plan after members of the retention task force wondered if a tool could proactively identify the incoming students and their families who were worried about impending college costs. Located on the MyWitt Portal, the game plan asks students to complete a series of questions. If they don't know how they will cover education expenses for the upcoming academic year, students check the "not sure" box. "You would be surprised at the number of students who check 'I'm not sure,'" he says.  "We send additional information to those students. We also take that list and review their financial aid package and any special circumstances that might be at play. Our overriding goal is to make sure students take care of the financial component of their educational experience early on so that they can focus fully on their academic experience when they arrive on campus. Anything we can do proactively to get good, helpful information in front of students is a benefit to them and us."

MARGO VANOVER PORTER, Locust Grove, Va., covers higher education business issues for Business Officer.

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