Ozarka College, established in 1975, offers associate degrees, technical certificates and certificates of proficiency. Its main campus is in Melbourne, Arkansas, with additional locations in Ash Flat, Mammoth Spring and Mountain View, Arkansas.
Borrower Connect™ comprehensive service
“Borrower Connect’s outreach services free up a lot of time in our office. Now we are able to put a lot of work on the front end with entrance counseling and building a connection on campus.”
– Laura Lawrence, financial aid director, Ozarka College
Ozarka College’s small financial aid office staff was facing significant challenges keeping up with borrower outreach in the midst of a recession driven enrollment spike. The college started using USA Funds Borrower Connect™ in 2013 to analyze and report on borrower data, but continued to handle all of the borrower phone calls, emails and letters independently. The use of the Borrower Connect tool helped reduce the cohort default rate (CDR) from 42.3 percent to 24.6 percent in one year. However, while handling the enrollment surge, financial aid staff struggled to perform all the necessary outreach internally.
Ozarka College started using Borrower Connect’s select service in October 2013, with USA Funds counselors contacting borrowers as identified by the college. In August 2015, the college began use of Borrower Connect’s comprehensive services. With this service level, USA Funds counselors contact all Ozarka College borrowers via multiple communication channels to educate them on their loan statuses and options. Monthly meetings are also held with Ozarka College to proactively discuss borrowers who may be at risk and share best practices and recommendations. With Borrower Connect, collaborative borrower outreach is easy since Ozarka College can clearly and easily monitor both USA Funds’ activities and its own activities.
Since expanding its Borrower Connect services, Ozarka College’s CDR has dropped by more than 7 percentage points. That’s a 30 percent reduction overall!