Higher Education Assistance Group
News & Insights
Higher Education Assistance Group

Hello Catherine,

It's been a busy year in financial aid with numerous changes and more on the horizon -- from the FAFSA Simplification program and the transition from EFC to the Student Aid Index to new Gainful Employment Rules and the introduction of Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools in the financial aid office. Our blog posts have covered all of these topics and more.

For more on AI, check out the presentation given by HEAG consultants Karyn Wright-Moore and Jay Burgess at this year's MASFAA conference: "Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML): Financial Aid Office Friend or Foe? You can access the slides, which covered the benefits and risks of using AI and ML technology in the administration and management of financial aid programs, here. We also had an exhibit space at the conference and held a gift card raffle for attendees who stopped by our table. Congratulations to our two gift card winners who are serving students at Bay Path University and Dean College!

As you head into the spring semester, please contact us if your institution is facing challenges or needs help due to additional demand. We have the experience to seamlessly integrate with your staff and take on any type of financial aid work or special projects. We also offer full financial aid support and outsourcing.

-The HEAG Team


10 Steps to Transform Your Financial Aid Office into a Data-Driven Powerhouse

In the ever-evolving landscape of higher education, financial aid offices face the crucial task of efficiently managing resources while ensuring students receive the support they need. The key to achieving this balance is transforming your office into a data-driven entity. Read our blog post and get 10 steps you can take to achieve this transformation and deliver enhanced efficiency, compliance and student satisfaction.

Read More

Inside Higher Ed Quotes Karyn Wright-Moore in "How AI Could Address Financial Aid Woes"

Some colleges and universities are turning to AI to streamline their financial aid processes, but there are critical steps schools should take before implementing an AI solution. Karyn Wright-Moore discusses what schools need to do and the risks that are involved with Inside Higher Ed in “How AI Could Address Financial Aid Office Woes.” In the article, Karyn recommends conducting a data survey, determining how that data flows within an institution, and completing an internal data cleansing and analysis to reduce cybersecurity risks. Read the article for more information about the steps your financial aid office should take prior to implementing an AI solution, and, if you're interested in learning more about AI or looking to implement an AI solution at your institution, contact us to find out how we can help.

Read the Article

2023: A Year in Review

a magnifying glass and blocks that spell out 2023?

This year began with the fate of thousands of student loan borrowers in the hands of the courts. It became a year of program improvement and righting past wrongs and ended with a new borrower friendly income-based repayment program. Check out our blog post for a look back at what happened in financial aid in 2023 and what still remains to be decided. Keep reading to learn more.

Read More
Consultant Spotlight
HEAG consultant Robert Merino

How long have you been with HEAG?

I’ve been working with HEAG for eight months.

What is something few people know about you?

I was born in Mexico and was the first generation in my family to go to college.

What was your first job?

In high school, I worked at a multi-million-dollar egg farm and was responsible for removing dead chickens from the henhouse. I was asked if I wanted to move into the sales department, which I did, and continued to work there during my first two years of college.

What do you enjoy most about your current role with HEAG?

I consider myself a fixer. I like to troubleshoot problems and find solutions. Clients turn to HEAG for assistance with one or more areas of their financial aid process so my consulting role fits perfectly with what I enjoy doing.

Robert Merino

Tell us a little about yourself.

In college, I was hired as a financial aid student assistant and worked in the financial aid office. I wasn’t planning on a career in financial aid as I majored in accounting, but I saw a job posting for a financial aid bookkeeper and the required skills combined both my accounting skills and the experience I had gained in the financial aid office. I landed the job and as I gained experience over the years I was promoted to the position of Financial Aid Counselor, Associate Director, Director, and Dean of Financial Aid.

What are some of the FA tasks you have performed and excelled at?

I have made great strides helping a university client establish financial aid services and prepare financial aid offers for students while they are still in high school. On commitment day, students have their financial aid packages and the admissions director throws a big celebration for each student.

What advice would you give to a school looking to bring in an FA consultant? 

Even if your financial aid office is running well, there is always room to improve your services and do things a little bit better. It’s helpful to have a consultant provide a second set of eyes and let you know what can be improved so you can keep up with your competition.

What makes HEAG unique or special compared to your work experiences elsewhere?

I enjoy the fact that I am not the only expert at HEAG. The firm has hundreds of years of combined experience across all areas of financial aid. If a client needs additional support, I can turn to my colleagues for the resources the school needs.

When you’re not consulting, what other hobbies/interests do you have? 

My wife and I like to watch movies and spend our free time enjoying movies at home and going to see them at the theater.

617.928.1975 I www.heag.us I info@HEAG.us
Facebook  Twitter  Linkedin