Dear Kelly,

Can you help guide me on which department I should call? I often find that when I’m thinking I should call financial planning, I really need to call the bursar. And then, when I feel I should be contacting my admissions counselor or academic adviser, I should really be calling the registrar. How do I know who to call and for what?

As a student success coordinator at Mercer University’s Henry County Regional Academic Center, this is a question I get asked a lot. So often new, and even returning, students get confused about who best can answer their questions. Therefore, I want to provide you with a quick guide to help you reach the right office when you need assistance.

Let’s begin with the difference between the Office of Student Financial Planning and the Bursar’s Office.

The Office of Student Financial Planning helps you get the money you need for college. This office assists you with obtaining financial aid, completing your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), accepting awards and finding out information about additional scholarships — all information centered on helping you pay for college. Although you are assigned a financial planning counselor, anyone in the Office of Student Financial Planning can help answer your questions. You can find the name of your assigned counselor through your MyMercer dashboard, but if you cannot get in contact with that person directly, you may call the main number at (478) 301-2670, and someone will be able to assist you.

In contrast, the Bursar’s Office is responsible for charging your tuition and accepting your payments. While the Office of Student Financial Planning helps you obtain funding, the Bursar’s Office is where you pay that money. The Bursar’s Office also handles refunds from your financial aid. If you have any questions regarding your student account and your amount due, I would begin with the Bursar’s Office, and then if you need to speak with someone in Student Financial Planning, a staff member in the Bursar’s Office will connect you. The phone number for the Bursar’s office is (478) 301-1111.

Two other groups of people that students often confuse with each other are admissions counselors and academic advisers.

Think of admissions counselors as ticket sales or travel agents when you’re getting ready for a flight. They help you determine where you want to go and guide you on the path to getting there. They are step one of your academic journey.

However, once you are admitted, you are assigned to an academic adviser, which is more like the pilot of the plane. Academic advisers will guide you in your travels throughout academia as you register for classes and progress throughout your program. They are also who you should connect with if you have questions or concerns as you progress. Get to know your academic adviser and allow them to get to know you, your needs and your goals. Your academic adviser is listed on your MyMercer dashboard.

Students also sometimes misunderstand the role of the Office of the Registrar. This office is the custodian of your academic record. Questions involving transfer credits, grades, transcript requests and graduation are examples of reasons why you would contact this office. To contact the Office of the Registrar, call (478) 301-2680 (Macon), (678) 547-6263 (Atlanta) or (478) 301-5411 (Regional Academic Centers).

Additionally, let’s take a moment to talk about Auxiliary Services. This office is responsible for providing several student necessities like the Bear Card and mail and document services, all while overseeing the bookstore and vending and dining services. If you have questions about any of these services, contact Auxiliary Services directly at (478) 301-2741 (Macon) or (678) 547-6144 (Atlanta).

Finally, even with this roadmap, you may still have questions and not know who to ask. As a student success coordinator, it is my job to support you and act as liaison when you have questions or concerns.

Each campus has an Office of Student Success. For residential undergraduate students, you may call Caroline Carlton at (478) 301-2401 or Elsie Dru Miles at (478) 301-2570. For working adult undergraduate students, you may call Renee Slaton at (678) 547-6500 or Quandra Swain at (678) 547-6109. You also may call any of the student success coordinators located on each campus.

If you would like to contact a student success coordinator, our numbers are:

  • Macon: Jean Denerson, (478) 301-2980
  • Douglas County: Myron Randall, (678) 547-6490 or Lou Robinson, (678) 547-6489
  • Henry County: Me, Kelly Browning, (678) 547-6231 or Robert Morris, (678) 547-6522
  • Atlanta: Any of us above

As always, I wish you health, happiness and continued success throughout your spectacular journey.

Kelly Browning, student success coordinator at the Henry County Regional Academic Center, answers questions from the Mercer community. Email her at or fill out our online form to submit your question anonymously.

Feature photo by Mercer University


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