Financial services consolidate

Story by Lindsey Coleman, Assistant News Editor 

Murray State students can now satisfy all their financial questions and needs in one building.

President Bob Davies announced in late September that he decided to make organizational changes to improve financial services for students. His decision effectively created a Student Financial Services unit, which includes the Bursar’s Office, the Student Financial Aid Office and the Scholarship Office, all located in Sparks Hall.

Davies said Wendy Cain, bursar, will be the head of the new unit of Student Financial Services.

Although Davies said it will take a few months to develop procedures and a final organizational structure that will provide the best service to students; the work has already begun. All three offices are now housed in Sparks Hall, whereas before the change, the Scholarship Office was located in the Curris Center.

“This will not only eliminate redundancies, but will also deliver a higher level of customer service to students,” President Bob Davies wrote in an email to faculty and staff.

Adrienne King, vice president of university advancement, said evidence of best practices from other universities showed that the synergy between these types of units can be very efficient.  

After the success with Racer One Stop events in the spring and fall semester, King said they saw that these organizational changes could be worthwhile. Racer One Stops offered students a way to speak with representatives from the Bursar, Registrar, Scholarship and Financial Aid offices. One was held in January and one in August. At the fall Racer One Stop, King said they served over 1,900 students.

“The feedback that we got from that indicated that the students appreciated it and felt like it made their lives a lot easier, having these units closer together and working closer together enabled them to serve the students better.” King said. “It seemed like a logical next step for the institution to look for ways to increase that collaboration.”

Wendy Cain, bursar, said these changes will not affect hiring in any of the offices. To notify students, Cain wants to work with student organizations and discuss how they can best serve them.

King said since all the offices are now in the same building, students should find it easier to find the answer they are looking for, without having to be sent across campus to a different office.

“This is all about our students and how we can better serve you all and make your lives easier in this regard so that you can focus on what’s important–success in the classroom,” King said.

“I’m really excited about it, and I think all the offices are excited to be working together more closely and be more efficient for students,” Cain said.

Quinton Roberts, senior from Belleville, Illinois, said he thinks this is a smart decision on the university’s part.

“I think that the change for all the offices to be in one building is very beneficial for freshman, because they will only have to go to one place now,” Roberts said.

The Scholarship Office and Financial Aid are on the fifth floor of Sparks Hall, while the Bursar’s Office is located on the first floor. Cain said she plans to meet with student organizations to hear any feedback or suggestions about how the unit can best serve students, how they could address issues and be more helpful.

To voice your opinions about how the university can better serve students with the Student Financial Services unit, email Cain at wcain@murraystate.edu.