Volume 1, Number 2Spring 2005

table of contents

The Standards of Excellence Review Program is an objective, confidential peer review program that assesses an institution's delivery of financial aid.


NASFAA Partners with Michigan Guaranty Agency to Provide Financial Aid Peer Reviews for Michigan Institutions

Washington, D.C. (February 28, 2005) – A partnership to provide peer reviews for Michigan's postsecondary institutions was announced by the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) and the Michigan Guaranty Agency. The reviews will take place under NASFAA's Standards of Excellence (SOE) Review Program. The agreement is effective immediately and will provide subsidized reviews through September 30, 2006.

The Standards of Excellence Review Program is an objective, confidential peer review program that assesses an institution's delivery of financial aid. Customized on-site reviews are designed to highlight strengths and recommend improvements.

"The Michigan Guaranty Agency is proud to launch this new outreach program for Michigan's institutions," said Agency Director Diane Todd Sprague. "We especially look forward to helping schools identify good practices."

"Ultimately, our students are the real winners," Sprague noted.

Under the terms of the partnership, the Michigan Guaranty Agency will subsidize 50% of the cost associated with each SOE review at Michigan institutions, which will be selected on a first-come, first served basis. All Title IV-participating institutions in Michigan are eligible to request reviews.

NASFAA President Dallas Martin expressed enthusiasm for the NASFAA-Michigan partnership. "We recognize that many institutions want to undertake SOE reviews but are challenged to secure funding to underwrite the costs," he said. "We are pleased to include Michigan in the growing number of state agencies that embrace the benefits of the SOE program."

Other state agencies currently partnering with NASFAA include Kentucky and North Carolina.

About the Standards of Excellence Review Program
The Standards of Excellence process begins with defining the scope of the review in a letter of engagement between the institution and NASFAA. Comprehensive reviews look at all aspects of Title IV program administration including student service and satisfaction; program compliance, operations, and delivery; systems, automation, and technology utilization; and human resources and facilities.

The institution submits demographic data and other information to NASFAA and a preliminary institutional assessment is conducted. NASFAA then selects a customized peer review team composed of highly experienced financial aid administrators who visit the institution and perform an in-depth, on-site review of the financial aid operations. The review team spends two days to one week on the campus.

Following the on-site review, the team compiles an evaluation of the institution's financial aid program and presents its findings in an exit interview to administrators designated by the institution. Finally, NASFAA prepares and submits a confidential written report summarizing the peer review team's observations. The report identifies the institution's good financial aid practices, cites any compliance issues, and suggests improvements.

For more information on the Standards of Excellence Review Program, visit www.NASFAA.org/SOE.asp or contact Program Coordinator Susan Luhman at (202) 785-0453, ext. 147, or at luhmans@NASFAA.org. Michigan institutions seeking subsidized reviews under the NASFAA-Michigan Guaranty Agency partnership program should contact Luhman directly.

If your organization is interested in providing financial support to enable SOE reviews at postsecondary institutions generally or in specific sectors, contact NASFAA Vice President Tim Christensen at (202) 785-0453, ext. 146, christensent@NASFAA.org.