OneStop for Student Needs Opens on Campus
The new OneStop combined area for students to receive assistance with financial aid, admissions, bursar and enrollment officially opened this semester in the University of Central Oklahoma’s Nigh University Center.
Renovations to the south end of the NUC’s first floor have combined the Undergraduate Academic Advisement office and the Undergraduate Admissions and Enrollment office into one unified office space. While the office space is now unified, both OneStop and Undergraduate Academic Advisement retain separate office suites, but work closely together to assist students.
“The biggest problem as to why we came up with this idea was our complete withdrawal process,” said Dallas Caldwell, senior director for Enrollment and Financial Services. “The process involved getting a signature from enrollment, bursar and finical aid.”
This process had students waiting in different lines, so the concept of OneStop was created to help students find everything they need in one place, according to Caldwell.
OneStop has combined the offices of Financial Aid, Enrollment Services, Student Records, Academic Advisement and Graduation Support Services. It has also created a new “Self-Help” area for students to receive guided help at workstations for issues such as online course registration or digital transcript requests.
“Our frontline employees all have to know a little bit about everything,” Caldwell said.
While the idea to create an office such as OneStop has been a popular one in higher education, the idea for one at UCO originated after Caldwell and several colleagues attended a strategic enrollment management conference seven years ago.
OneStop also includes a new queue management system, where student workers with tablets sign students onto a queue and direct them to where in the OneStop and advisement appointments they need to wait for more assistance.
“I feel like every time I come here, even before they had the renovations, the familiar faces do a great job to go out of their way to give me an answer that I need,” said Sarah Muller, a senior at UCO studying business management.
“If you sign-up in line digitally and you get moved to a finical aid counselor, you’re not getting in line all over again,” Caldwell said. “You still have the same spot.”
There are only two financial aid counselors currently, due to the position’s high turnover rate, but Caldwell said they are making it work.
According to Caldwell, he wanted to show a connection between advisement and the rest of the process with glass walls because there was no other way to do so considering physical limitations.
Caldwell said more renovations, including furniture to lend the space a more relaxed look, are on the way. A new self-help computer area and an online check-in system for students is also in the works to.
“The biggest challenge with OneStop is the desire to rush into everything,” Caldwell said. “If you rush forward too much, you leave things behind.”
While there are more big plans for OneStop, Caldwell said feedback has helped to drive the changes they’ve made and the possibility of any future changes.
“We want to know what’s working and what’s not working,” Caldwell said. “If we’re pushing too far in one direction and we need to come back, that’s what we want to do.”