USA Funds Staff Profile: Customized Approaches to School and Student Success

Anne Fischer’s background as a member of an education-focused family and in financial aid and lending shaped her attitude about the importance of higher education.

As a child in St. Louis, she learned from the emphasis her college-educated parents placed on postsecondary training. Fischer also took note of her mother’s stories about how her mother struggled to find support for her own academic pursuits.

As a work-study employee in the Rockhurst University financial aid office in Kansas City, Mo., she admired staff members’ dedication to helping each student succeed. Later positions as a loan officer and in lending sales and marketing further bolstered Fischer’s appreciation for treating each person as an individual who needs assistance — instead of just a number.

“Helping people realize their dreams, looking at each student and how we can help that student today, is very important. And everyone in higher education does that,” says Fischer, a USA Funds® consultant working with schools.

Since 2004 Fischer has worked with USA Funds, assisting schools in advancing their student success. She helps schools — especially those that are under-resourced — in seven states in the Midwest and East with achieving their goals in student loan default prevention, financial literacy education, and student retention and success.

To assist schools in their student success efforts, Fischer offers consultations that include discovery of each school’s specific issues as well as planning and training.

“Just as each student is an individual, each school is different,” Fischer says. “So it’s not like there is a single formula to meet all schools’ needs and resources. We determine where each school is and then develop a plan to go where that particular school wants to go.”

She spends much of her time working with individuals or in committees at schools, and also works to research those schools’ default prevention and student success issues.

Fischer’s goal, she says, is to help schools establish student success goals, and then make progress toward them.

“I’m not there only to help them lower their default rates,” she says. “Lowering default rates is a great thing, but it’s a long-range goal. Start by focusing on moving forward in some way, establishing a way to measure progress and then showing that progress.”

Now based in Chicago, Fischer holds a bachelor’s degree from Rockhurst University and a master’s degree from Loyola University Chicago.