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Board Report #02-5

Biennial Report
1999-2001

 

October 15, 2001

The Honorable Scott McCallum
Governor of the State of Wisconsin
and
Members of the Legislature:

Submitted herewith is the 1999-2001 biennial report of the State of Wisconsin Higher Educational Aids Board. This report has been prepared pursuant to Section 15.04 (1) (d) Wisconsin Statutes.

The report provides an analysis of the agency's 1999-2001 activities and accomplishments and describes goals and objectives for the 2001-2003 biennium.

Sincerely,

Jane M. Hojan-Clark
Executive Secretary

 

CURRENT MEMBERS
OF THE
HIGHER EDUCATIONAL AIDS BOARD
JUNE 30, 2001

PUBLIC-AT-LARGE
Linda Cross - Hortonville
INDEPENDENT COLLEGES & UNIVERSITIES
Jeremy Shea - Madison
Debra McKinney - Fond du Lac
STATUTORY DESIGNATE
Elizabeth Burmaster
(Public Instruction Superintendent)
Designee: Paul Spraggins - Milwaukee
UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN SYSTEM
Gerard Randall - Milwaukee
Steve Van Ess - Madison
Andre Jacque - Madison
WISCONSIN TECHNICAL COLLEGE SYSTEM
Barbara Manthei - West Salem
Mary Jo Green - Nekoosa

 

AGENCY ADMINISTRATORS

Jane M. Hojan-Clark
Executive Secretary
James Buske
Manager
Division of Programs and Policy
Sherrie Nelson
Analyst
Administrative and Fiscal Services
Marilyn Gillies
Management Specialist
Personnel/Payroll and Accounting
Lee Hellickson
IS Professional
Information Systems

 

AGENCY STRUCTURE

The Higher Educational Aids Board is a part-time independent policy-making board composed of eleven members appointed to serve at the pleasure of the Governor. The Governor appoints one member from the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System; one member from the State Board of the Wisconsin Technical College System; one member who is a trustee of an independent college or university to represent such independent institutions; one student and one financial aid administrator each from within the University of Wisconsin System, Wisconsin Technical College System Board and independent institutions; one citizen member to represent the general public; and the state superintendent of public instruction.

The Executive Secretary is appointed by and serves at the pleasure of the Governor. The Executive Secretary makes policy recommendations to the Board; carries out policy directives from the Governor, Legislature and Board; and is responsible for initiating and carrying out all administrative direction and responsibilities of the agency. All other permanent agency staff are in the classified service. During the 1999-2001 biennium, total agency staff did not exceed 13 individuals. The functional organizational chart of the agency reflects the most recent structure.

 

STATE OF WISCONSIN
HIGHER EDUCATIONAL AIDS BOARD
June 30, 2001
HEAB organization chart

 

AGENCY FUNCTIONS

The agency's major operational responsibilities during 1999-2001 fell into four distinct categories, which include grant/scholarship programs, student loans, reciprocal agreements and tuition capitation programs. First, the administration of the state's student grant/scholarship programs includes the expenditure of over $123,117,984 during 1999-2001. All of these funds were secured from General Purpose Revenue tax funds (except for $1,408,498 in federal funds). The majority of these programs are based upon the federally determined student and/or parental contributions, and hence the financial need of the student recipients. Total awards exceeded 107,670 from over 408,018 Wisconsin resident undergraduates who applied for assistance during the biennium. Many, of course, applied for and were awarded assistance for both years.

HEAB continued the collection of outstanding loans for the following programs: Independent Student Grant (Loan); Minority Teacher Loan; Nonguarantee Loan; Nursing Student Stipend Loan; Paul Douglas Scholarship (Loan); and the Wisconsin Health Education Assistance Loan (WHEAL). Under the largest program, the WHEAL, all accounts were in repayment status as of June 30, 2001. During the 1999-2001 biennium, the number of borrowers with outstanding principle owed was reduced from 115 to 76, and the principle owed from $2,295,695 to $1,382,479. As of June 30, 2001 the amount of bonds outstanding was $220,000. The final redemption date of these bonds is December 1, 2004.

In addition to student grants/scholarships and the collection of loans, HEAB's third major function continues to be the administration of the Minnesota-Wisconsin Reciprocity Program in conjunction with the Minnesota Higher Education Services Office. A total of 10,292 Wisconsin residents participated in the program in 1999-2000 by enrolling in Minnesota public institutions. The 2000-2001 total is expected to be approximately 10,292 residents.

Two tuition capitation agreements comprise the last major operational responsibility of the agency. The Board has tuition capitation agreements with both the Medical College of Wisconsin and Marquette University School of Dentistry. These agreements provide funds to the two institutions to train Wisconsin residents as physicians and dentists. During 1999-2001 the total appropriation on behalf of the Medical College was $8,210,200 and $2,334,000 for the School of Dentistry for resident student tuition capitation purposes.

 

PRESENT BOARD POLICIES

In 1968, a rational and policy framework for Wisconsin's Student Financial Aid Structure was established. Today, in 2001, the rational and policy framework continue to operate. Essentially, there are two broad goals and seven operational policies which serve to implement the broader goals. The two broad goals, Universal Educational Opportunity and Educational Diversity or "Freedom of Choice," are looked upon as educational goals which can be achieved in part through the financial aid structure.

The first goal is to eliminate financial barriers and thereby insure an educational opportunity for all Wisconsin citizens commensurate with their desires and abilities. This goal suggests that it is the primary purpose of the student financial aid structure to insure an educational opportunity for all citizens commensurate with their desires and abilities regardless of their financial circumstances. This goal does not imply that the same educational experience need be provided to all students, but it does require that all students be given an equal opportunity to pursue an education consistent with their individual abilities, interests and ambitions. It has been recognized that if society is to achieve the goal of equality of opportunity it must first insure the equality of educational opportunities. As a result of the technological revolution, the knowledge explosion, and the development of a highly skilled and complex society, education has become the most important key to the "American Dream." The educational investment in human resources has a direct impact on the economic and technological development of the nation. This circular relationship between providing universal educational opportunity results in benefits which accrue to society in addition to those which accrue directly to the individual in terms of personal fulfillment and economic security. Every citizen has a right to participate in the economic, social, and political aspects of our society. Education provides the opportunity to exercise this right of full participation and, consequently, must be made equally available to all.

The second goal of the Financial Aid Structure is to support existing Educational Diversity by allowing students the freedom to choose among the various educational offerings. Educational Diversity implies a wide range of academic environments, programs, and course offerings as well as diversity in sponsorship e.g. public and private. A comprehensive educational environment is one which offers technical training in addition to collegiate programs not of the technical nature; one and two year programs as well as four year programs. The diversity issue generally concentrates on the need to preserve the strength and vitality of private schools of higher education for the following reasons:

  1. To assure to students the opportunity of selecting an institution on such basis as academic program, campus environment, size, etc..
  2. To stimulate healthy competition in seeking distinctions, whether by innovations in program or by quality achievements.
  3. To maximize the use of educational resources including faculties, facilities, etc.

In order to implement the two goals described above, the following operational policies were established to serve as the guideposts of the Financial Aid Structure.

  1. The first operational policy designed to implement the goals of the Financial Aid Structure is that financial aid be distributed on the basis of the student's financial need in order to maximize financial resources and thereby insure an educational opportunity to the greatest number of students.

  2. The second operational policy designed primarily to implement the goal of educational diversity or freedom of choice is equalization. Equalization supports diversity and insures freedom of choice by placing all students in the same relative position vis' a vis' governmental instructional subsidies.

  3. The third operational policy, awarding for excellence, requires that academic excellence be recognized.

  4. The fourth operational policy, shared responsibility, recognizes the multiple responsibility of the student, the student's parent/s or spouse, government, and private sources to contribute to educational costs.

  5. The fifth policy, recognizing the unique financial needs of the disadvantaged, suggests that it is a responsibility of the financial aid structure to recognize and relate to the unique financial needs of the economically disadvantaged.

  6. The policy, maximization of resources, emphasizes the need to maximize the contribution of financial aid resources provided by all sources including students, spouses, parents, government, institutions, and private sponsors.

  7. The last policy, administrative coordination and simplicity, recognizes the importance of providing coordinated, equitable, efficient, and responsive administrative framework designed to implement the other policies enumerated above. The enactment of the State's financial aid programs and subsequent assignment of these programs to the Higher Educational Aids Board points out the desirability of insuring an orderly development and coordination of the State's Financial Aid Structure as well as equitable, efficient, and responsive distribution mechanisms. In order to best serve the body of Wisconsin students who are attending a wide range of schools including public and private, in-state as well as out-of-state, two year programs and four year programs, coordinated State financial aid programs are essential. Meeting this requirement and, in addition, fulfilling the Legislative mandate of providing an annual review of the State's Financial Aid Structure, suggests that a single governmental body should be responsible for the administrative coordination of the State's financial aid programs.

To summarize, the State Student Financial Aid Policy Framework is as follows:

I. Goals of the Financial Aid Structure

  1. Removal of all financial barriers in order to insure an Educational Opportunity for all Wisconsin citizens commensurate with their desires and abilities.
  2. Support of Educational Diversity by allowing students the freedom to choose educational programs on the basis of their interests and abilities.

II. Operational Policies

  1. Distribution of student financial aid on the basis of the student's financial need in order to maximize financial resources and thereby insure an educational opportunity to the greatest number of students.
  2. Equalization of the instructional subsidy paid on behalf of students thereby insuring maximum freedom of choice.
  3. Recognition of academic excellence.
  4. Recognition of the multiple responsibility of the student, the student's parent/s or spouse, government, and private sources to contribute to educational costs.
  5. Recognition of the unique financial need of the economically and educationally disadvantaged.
  6. Maximization of the financial aid resources provided by all sources including students, the student's parent/s or spouse, government, institutions, and private sponsors.
  7. Implementation of these operational policies through a coordinated, equitable, efficient and responsive administrative framework.

 

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE HIGHER EDUCATIONAL AIDS BOARD

The Higher Educational Aids Board is now 37 years old having been created by statute on June 30, 1964 as the Commission for Academic Facilities. The original purpose of the board was to distribute federal campus construction funds. In September 1965, the name of the agency was changed by statute to the State Commission for Higher Educational Aids, with the present name being designated two years later. Along with the change of name came the assignment of the first grant and scholarship programs funded by the State. These programs were the outgrowth of the Governor's scholarship and Loan Committee of 1965. The two most important policies followed in the creation and the initial student aid programs were those of student financial need for determination of the eligibility and award amount, and that aid should be available to Wisconsin residents attending both public and private institutions of higher education. The Board also received responsibility for the State Student Loan Program in 1966 with the loans being made directly from State controlled funds.

The first ten years of the Board's existence can be viewed as a period of experimentation as well as growth. The agency became responsible for administering the federal Guaranteed Student Loan Program during this period as the federally funded construction and educational equipment programs came to an end. Many short-lived State programs were approved, operated for a few years and then were discontinued, all prior to 1976. They included virtually every concept of student assistance with the exception of employment. There were grants and loans for professional degree students; teacher training stipends and scholarships with repayment provisions if teaching wasn't actually done; and grants for minority and disadvantaged students. In all, eight programs were started and were either discontinued or merged into successor programs.

The effective end to this decade of change came with legislation that for the most part followed the findings of a Legislative Council Committee, which was requested by the Co-Chairs of the Joint Committee on Finance in 1974-1975. Programs were ended or merged and the grant structure the Board still administers today was put into place. Two large grant programs tied into the federal financial aid structure were the central feature, flanked by several smaller grant programs targeting additional aid to the most needy. Within a few years the State Loan Program was removed from State funds and student loans were made from bond issue proceeds. This program grew rapidly along with the parallel increase in private lender loans. By 1980, a second large loan program was created from bond funds, the Wisconsin Health Education Assistance Loan (WHEAL), with assistance going to dental and medical students enrolled in Wisconsin institutions.

The second decade came to an end in 1984 when the agency's Board, sitting in it's capacity as the Board of the Guaranteed Loan Corporation, voted to make the corporation independent of both the Higher Educational Aids Board and State Control. This was done and the agency was left with the grant programs, responsibility for the two loan programs and the number of staff returned to its level of 1966. Within the next two years, bond authority for the loan programs ran out and the agency withdrew from the business of making loans under these programs. This wasn't a problem for students since private lenders continued to make more loans than ever under both programs.

Since 1984, the agency has concentrated on better delivery of student grant aid and the collection of the remaining student loans for which it is responsible. In addition, several new aid programs have been added to the agency's mission and the concept of employment and forgiveness of loan repayment has returned. During 1991, the remaining State Student Loans were sold to a Cleveland, Ohio bank and the State's general fund received about $34,000,000 during 1991 and 1992 from the sale. HEAB no longer has any significant responsibility for these loans, which were made between 1973 and 1986.

In 1995, the biennial State Budget included language to eliminate the HEAB and transfer its respective staffs, functions and appropriations to a new Department of Education, effective July 1, 1996. The Council on Financial Aids was also to be eliminated effective January 1, 1996. 3.85 positions were also eliminated from HEAB as a result of the proposed merger of HEAB with a new Department of Education. At the same time that these positions were deleted from HEAB, the agency was assigned two new program responsibilities, those being screening for applicants delinquent in Child Support Payments and the administration of the former University of Wisconsin's Minority Teacher Loan Program. No positions were restored to administer these new functions.

On March 29, 1996 the Supreme Court ruled that the provisions of the 1995-97 state budget relating to restructuring the governance of the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) were unconstitutional. The provisions relating to the elimination of HEAB and the transfer of their functions to the new Department of Education were neither included among the provisions challenged by the case, nor addressed by the Supreme Court in its ruling. According to a report by the Fiscal Bureau, Act 27 references to the New Department of Education which were not affected by the Court's decision were to be interpreted as DPI. Therefore, DPI was to be responsible for the administration of HEAB programs as funding of these programs was placed under DPI's Chapter 20 appropriation schedule.

The JCF recommended that prior to July 1, 1996, the Department of Public Instruction enter into a memoranda of understanding with the Higher Educational Aids Board in order for the Department of Public Instruction to provide funding and staff in 1996-1997 in order to carry out the functions of the board. Joint Finance also created a project position to serve as the Executive Secretary for the Higher Educational Aids Board. In Executive orders #283 and #287, Governor Thompson established a Higher Educational Aids Council to oversee the implementation of the memorandum of understanding between the Department of Public Instruction and the Higher Educational Aids Board to carry out the functions of the Board and advise Board staff on the administration of the financial aid appropriations pursuant to Section 20.235 of the Wisconsin Statutes. However, the legislature recreated the board in 1997 Wisconsin Act 27 and restored the Executive Secretary position. The Deputy Secretary position was also restored in the Budget Adjustment Bill.

Included in the 1997-1999 Biennial Budget was one new financial aid program, the Teacher Education Loan Program, and a provision which expanded HEAB's Tuition Grant Program to include students enrolled at tribally-controlled colleges in the state. HEAB was also given administrative responsibility for the Educational Approval Board (EAB). In December of 1997, the Joint Committee on Finance approved 1.0 GPR program assistant 3 position under Section 13.10 Request for Supplemental Funds and Position Authority. The responsibilities of this position included administering the new Teacher Education Loan, processing financial aid refunds and providing assistance to the information systems programmer by performing various functions such as assisting in database development, maintaining the agency's web site and transferring data to and from the mainframe computer.

A number of goals were established in 1997 and efforts were made to fulfill them. Communication throughout the higher education community was expanded through the use of monthly memos, visits made to each of the colleges and universities throughout the state, training workshops established for financial aid administrators, the formalization of workshop presentations for high school counselors, and the establishment of an agency web site. The use of technology was expanded. Tapes were no longer accepted, the use of FTP sites was encouraged, the use of paper was reduced, and much of the day to day processing was converted to an electronic mode. Smaller programs were converted from mainframe applications to PC based programs. All of these efforts contributed to quicker turn around time and better service provided to customers.

A reorganization of the physical environment of the agency began in 1997 as well. Documents, space, processes, and procedures were examined and reorganized. This created a much more positive, efficient, and productive working environment.

A new Minnesota-Wisconsin Reciprocity Agreement was negotiated and approved in August of 1997. The JCF met on August 26, 1997, and approved changes that were effective July 1, 1998.

Statutes related to the Academic Excellence Scholarship (AES) were revised so that the grade point average necessary for continued AES eligibility must be an absolute 3.000 rather than a 3.0 rounded up from 2.99. The statutes were also changed to reflect that colleges and universities must "agree to participate until further notice" rather than "agree to participate each year."

A HEAB Residency Status Committee that reviews residency status related cases was established along with procedures. The committee reviews cases and makes residency determinations based on applicable statutes.

The Federal SSIG program (which partially funds the WI TIP Grant) was renamed the Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership Program (LEAP). The program criteria did not change from what it was under SSIG. However, if funding is greater than $30 million, a Supplemental LEAP or SLEAP will become effective where the match requirement for funds above the $30 million will change to three to one. The SLEAP funds can also be used for a broader range of purposes compared to the LEAP funds.

 

PERFORMANCE AND OPERATION OF THE
HIGHER EDUCATIONAL AIDS BOARD
DURING 1999-2001

It is recognized that the staff of the Higher Educational Aids Board (HEAB) is small in number, yet the responsibilities the board has is extremely important to Wisconsin residents seeking a postsecondary education. Due to an extraordinary level of expertise and dedication, HEAB staff members continue to be able to meet the high expectations placed upon them by customers, the Administration and Legislature. HEAB has been able to successfully carry out its mission to ensure that all students be provided equal access and diversity in obtaining a higher education and make certain the funds for each program HEAB administers are distributed in a fair, equitable, and timely manner.

Over the two-year biennial period $171,334,051 was distributed to 129,725 Wisconsin students through programs administered by HEAB. Programs administered by HEAB served just under 30% of all Wisconsin resident undergraduates. Undergraduate need-based state grant aid awarded by Wisconsin through HEAB was ranked 15th in the country in 1999-2000. Wisconsin, when compared to other states throughout the country, continues to maintain a similar proportion of aid for college students that it did ten years ago.

The expansion of communication throughout the higher education community in order to better serve our customer, the student, continued to be a priority for the agency. Improvements to the monthly memos, training workshops, visits, presentations, agency web site and various other forms of communication were made as well as efforts to developed relationships with other agencies and organizations in order to provide Wisconsin residents with as much financial assistance related information as possible. One of the most major accomplishments for this biennial period was the development of a policy and procedure manual to be used by administrators within the colleges and universities that participate in the programs HEAB administers. This was a highly needed document that has proven to be very helpful in effectively administering the various programs and ultimately better serve our customers.

The expanded use of more advanced technology in 1999-2001 continued to change how the agency operated. Not only was the conversion made to only accept electronic data from schools and others, but the notification lists as well as other data that is sent out have been converted to electronic formats that are sent out weekly rather than every other week. All small programs have been converted from mainframe programs to PC based systems. More progress has been made on the development of an electronic application for the Minnesota-Wisconsin Reciprocity Program. Another substantial initiative that consumed a great deal of time and energy was the Y2K conversion. Due to the preparatory work and organization, this extensive conversion was made without any negative ramifications.

Various other accomplishments the agency realized over the past two years include:

  1. Statutes related to the Academic Excellence Scholarship (AES) were revised so that high schools who use weighted Grading Systems would be able to nominate an alternate even though the alternate does not have the same Grade Point Average (GPA) as the designated recipient. This change was successfully implemented.

  2. A rule change was made to the Minority Teacher Loan Program. The rule expands program eligibility to allow students who were eligible to participate under this program in the past, when it was administered by a different system, to continue to be eligible to participate in the future. Students who are enrolled at least half time and students who do not show financial need are able to participate in this program. Past rules required that a student be enrolled full time and show financial need to be considered for participation.

  3. The implementation of the newly established Teacher of the Visually Impaired Loan Program was accomplished.

  4. Administrative Rules for both the Teacher Education Loan and the Teacher of the Visually Impaired Loan Programs were submitted for review and approval.

  5. Each year the board is responsible for setting formulas that determine awards for the three Wisconsin Higher Education Grant (WHEG) Programs and the Wisconsin Tuition Grant (WTG) Program. In the most recent past each program had two models, a dependent student model and an independent student model, within each formula. The board was able to successfully collapse the two models into one for the WHEG Program.

  6. The implementation of the newly established Tribal WHEG Program was accomplished.

  7. The funding source for the Indian Student Grant and the Tribal WHEG was moved from GPR to Gaming. This change was successfully implemented.

  8. Two Interstate Agreements between Gateway Technical College and two Illinois districts were developed, approved and implemented.

  9. A statement reflecting an understanding of program participation was provided to all Wisconsin Colleges and Universities whose students participate in the programs HEAB administers.

  10. HEAB compiled and distributed two new reports. One related to performance outcome and the other presented State financial assistance broken down by legislative district.

  11. The annual statistical survey that requests information from Wisconsin Colleges and Universities whose students participate in programs HEAB administers was reviewed and revised with the assistance of the Financial Aid Community.

  12. Agency staff, under the direction of the Systems Manager, reviewed and revised computer programs and applications in order to provide better service to our customers and to realize cost savings.

  13. HEAB began to regularly send out news releases related to various issues e.g. recommended approaches to scholarship searches and encouraging students to apply for financial assistance early.

Several operational changes that occurred during the 1999-2001 biennial period included the loss of the Deputy Secretary position, the addition of a Clerical Assistant position, the elimination of the administrative responsibility for the Educational Approval Board (EAB), and an agency reorganization due to the changes already mentioned as well as due to the retirement of an Administrative and Fiscal Services Administrator. Many adjustments were made. Shifting of responsibilities occurred as the agency moved through these various changes.

The agency has once again had a very productive two years. Many goals were once again accomplished. A number of new initiatives were begun. It is expected that they too will be fully implemented within the next biennial period.

 

  1999-2000 2000-2001
PROGRAMS CURRENTLY
BEING AWARDED
DOLLARS
SPENT*
NUMBER
OF AWARDS
DOLLARS
SPENT*
NUMBER
OF AWARDS
CAPITATION  
Marquette University
School of Dentistry
$1,167,000 100 $1,167,000 100
Medical College of Wisconsin $4,031,355 400 $3,965,763 393
GRANTS  
Handicapped Student Grant $110,803 71 $85,910 54
Indian Student Assistance Grant $755,205 825 $784,857 837
Minority Retention Grant
- Independent Colleges & Universities
  and Tribal Colleges
$333,736 290 $356,838 284
Minority Retention Grant
- WTC System
$356,838 348 $330,758 329
Talent Incentive Program Grant $4,468,058 4,133 $5,489,498 4,146
Wisconsin Higher Education Grant
- UW System
$16,854,076 16,669 $20,659,967 17,943
Wisconsin Higher Education Grant
- WTC System
$11,354,630 15,173 $13,960,777 18,892
Wisconsin Higher Education Grant
- Wisconsin Tribal Colleges
$374,868 299 $439,842 337
Wisconsin Tuition Grant $17,412,235 9,306 $23,247,820 12,343
LOANS  
Minority Teacher Loan $236,978 117 $239,952 108
Teacher Education Loan $248,000 124 $250,000 125
Teacher of the Visually Impaired Loan $0 0 $16,875 4
RECIPROCITY  
MN-WI Reciprocity Program $18,446,572 10,292 $18,446,572** 10,292**
SCHOLARSHIPS  
Academic Excellence Scholarship $2,846,799 2,721 $2,894,469 2,670
TOTALS $78,997,153 60,868 $92,336,898 68,857

* These figures include refunds from the previous year received after the books were closed as well as partial or whole refunds received after the end of vouchering for that academic year.
** Final figures not available. Assumed 1999-2000 for 2000-2001 MN-WI Reciprocity Program.

PROGRAMS NOT CURRENTLY BEING AWARDED
(Only in Repayment) as of June 30, 2001
  ISG NSSL PD WHEAL
Defaulted 0 0 1 0
Deferred 0 1 0 0
Enrolled 0 19 0 0
Forbearance 0 4 0 1
Forgiveness 0 168 36 0
Forgiven in Full 621 787 90 0
Interim 136 99 11 0
Paid in Full 8 53 53 1,171
Repayment 29 38 21 75
Total Refund / Withdrawn 7 33 0 0
TOTAL RECIPIENTS 801 1,202 212 1,247

Note:
ISG: Independent Student Grant (Loan)
NSSL: Nursing Student Stipend Loan
PD: Paul Douglas Scholarship (Loan)
WHEAL: Wisconsin Health Education Assistance Loan

 

MAJOR PROGRAM GOALS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE
HIGHER EDUCATIONAL AIDS BOARD
FOR THE 2001-2003 BIENNIUM

The Higher Educational Aids Board (HEAB) will continue to pursue its long-term commitment of providing opportunities for educational access and diversity in obtaining a higher education. It will continue to review its program policies and operational objectives for all state aid programs. HEAB will strive to expand its outreach in order to increase the awareness and knowledge of postsecondary educational opportunities and available financial assistance.

Goals and objectives that have been set for the Higher Educational Aids Board to carry out over the next two years are extensive. Primarily, the areas of focus will include addressing the concerns related to the ramifications resulting from the September 11th attack; finalizing the Return of Funds Policy; addressing changes specific to the 2001-2003 biennial budget; implementation of a more automated procedure to fulfill the relatively new EDVEST Program requirements; reviewing program policy and potentially pursuing statute and/or rule changes as well as follow through with statutory and administrative rule changes that have already been submitted; the examination of an expansion of reciprocity programs with other states; formalizing internal policies and procedures; continuation of implementing technological changes; the implementation of EFT; the expansion of a statistical data base; finalization of a revised Employee Handbook; and the continuation of staff training and alternative work patterns.

Since the attack on September 11th there have been a number of questions related to what the impact potentially will be for Wisconsin college students who participate in State funded financial aid programs. Two issues that have been identified to date are the return of funds for students who must withdraw due to being called to active duty and the other issue relates to the usage of terms (there is a maximum of ten semesters for most of the programs HEAB administers). These issue as well as others that arise will need to be resolved.

HEAB has worked very closely with the Financial Aid Community to develop a "return of funds" policy for the programs HEAB administers. It is expected that a final version will be approved and implemented for the 2002-2003 academic year.

The 2001-2003 Biennial Budget included a number of changes that must be fulfilled. The changes include: the screening for selective service registration, the implementation of a new Nursing Loan Program, the potential implementation of a new maximum award for the Wisconsin Tuition Grant Program, and the submission of two studies or reports (Minority Undergraduate Retention Grant Effectiveness Report and Farmer Loan Forgiveness Study). Each of these changes will be implemented during the 2001-2003 biennial period.

Recent changes to the EDVEST Program require that funds in an EDVEST account cannot be included when calculating eligibility for State financial assistance. A manual process has been put in place with the intention that a more automated approach would be taken a later point in time. Some detailed discussion has occurred to move to an automated process, however more work is necessary before the process is put in place.

The process of reviewing program policy and potentially pursuing statute and/or rule changes has begun. One of the programs that will be a primary focus is the Talent Incentive Program Grant. HEAB will also follow through with statutory and administrative rule changes that have already been submitted. Statutory revisions that were submitted to the Law Revision Committee in 1998, after a review of statutory language pertaining to HEAB, were sent on to the Legislative Reference Bureau for drafting and presentation to the Law Revision Committee. The changes include the deletion of obsolete language and minor revisions. It is the intention of the board to follow the process through, providing whatever is necessary until the changes are enacted. Rules for the relatively new Teacher Education Loan and Teacher of the Visually Impaired Loan Programs have also been submitted. Approval of these rules by the legislature will be pursued.

Currently HEAB has a reciprocal agreement with the state of Minnesota along with various agreements between some Technical Colleges and neighboring counties in bordering states. The board will examine whether or not to expand participation in reciprocal agreements with other states or to expand existing agreements.

The policy and procedure manual that was developed for the aid community has been a very important resource. It is expected that an internal policy and procedure manual to be used by HEAB staff members will be completed in order to create efficiencies and consistency as well as serve many other purposes.

Given the size of the agency the reliance on technology in order fulfill responsibilities has been vast. Every effort will be made to continue to evaluate and implement technological changes in order to provide better service to our customer, the student, and to again create efficiencies in day to day operations. Given that the mainframe system in which we rely on heavily is obsolete (built in the 1970's) we will continue to pursue resources for a system upgrade.

Since more colleges and universities are moving to individual student accounts, HEAB will investigate and potentially implement the option of electronically transferring funds what is referred to as EFT. The agency will continue to review all of its computer applications and make changes as necessary in order to provide the best service possible.

HEAB has always collected and analyzed data related to postsecondary education student financial aid. Reports that reflect some of this data are developed and distributed annually. This past year the agency compiled two new reports. One related to performance outcome and the other presented State financial assistance broken down by legislative district. The agency expects to continue to expand this area in the future.

The agency's Employee Handbook has been reviewed and revised. It is the intention of the Human Resources Coordinator that a final draft will be approved and distributed.

The agency made a significant effort in the past to provide training for staff members. This effort will continue during the next two years. The agency also encourages the utilization of Alternative Work Patterns (AWP) such as flex-time, part-time, and shared time schedules to increase productivity, extend services, reduce absenteeism, improve employee morale, allow for employee development and to maximize energy conservation through ride sharing and use of mass transit systems. The agency recognizes AWP schedules may provide opportunities for individuals to productively utilize their skills, talents, and abilities. It recognizes that a traditional full-time work schedule may not meet the needs of individuals whom, due to age, health or family circumstances, find such a schedule in conflict with responsibilities outside of work. The agency has an AWP policy that is supported by AWP related statutes and rules.

 

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