Fischer named student financial services director

Nov. 1, 2005

by John Lucas

Susan Fischer has been named director of the UW-Madison Office of Student Financial Services (OSFS). Fischer, who previously served as associate director, replaces Steve Van Ess, who retired in September.

One key focus of the office will be locating additional financial aid for undergraduate students in an effort to improve access to the university, Fischer says.

"I hope to collaborate with and harness the energy of my colleagues on and off campus to reduce the unmet financial need of our most needy undergraduate students," she says. "We plan to utilize existing federal and state funds as well as raising additional private funds for grant aid."

Fischer joined OSFS in 1983, beginning as a student services program manager overseeing Pell Grants before becoming associate director in 1992. In 2001, a restructuring gave her added responsibility of managing the day-to-day operations of most of the office and its 30 permanent staff.

As part of her duties, she was involved in guiding the office's use of computing systems, use of portal technology, self-service systems and other Web-based means of communication.

Fischer hopes to follow in the footsteps of Van Ess and his predecessor Wally Douma, who both guided the office for a combined total of more than 40 years.

"They have great legacies and are mentors to me," she says. "One part of Steve's legacy is that we now deliver aid faster than ever before. Now, we need more aid to deliver."

Fischer also plans to stay active in working on diversity and Plan 2008 issues, as well as being an active member of her church congregation and Madison community.

"Susan will work intensively to meet our shared commitment to raise private money for need-based aid," says Joanne Berg, associate vice chancellor for enrollment management. "Partnering with our development colleagues and private donors is a priority as we seek to offset the diminishing federal and state funding. Susan is committed to getting the message out that 'you can afford to attend here,' and backing up that commitment with the dollars."

OSFS will conduct a search for a new associate director to replace Fischer. Fischer's new salary is $112,000.