Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Financial Aid 101 for Your Campus Community

(by Chandra Owen, Michigan State University & member of Communications & Electronic Initiatives Committee)

In the financial aid office we often focus our training and communications on our staff and students, however, there may be a group that is hungry for financial aid knowledge that we are missing. Often academic advisors and other departments are asked questions that can impact a student’s financial aid, whether it is dropping a course, or awarding a student a scholarship. You may find that when others in the campus community have a basic understanding of the financial aid process it can improve what is communicated to your students, increases the likelihood that the student will be referred to the correct office in case any issues arise, and the community may gain greater respect for your processes.

Some of the topics you may want to cover include:
  • Financial Aid 101 – FAFSA, EFC, Cost of Attendance
  • What is Considered Financial Aid?
  • Impacts New Student Awards Have on Existing Financial Aid
  • Financial Options to Assist Students – Childcare, Computer, Emergencies
  • Maintaining Eligibility – Satisfactory Academic Progress
  • Financial Aid and Controllers Office Liaisons
  • Resources – Websites, Calculators, Video Tutorials
Recently at Michigan State we have joined together with our Human Resources and Controllers Office to provide a half day course titled “Processing Student Awards and Financial Aid”. The response has been overwhelmingly positive. We had to create a wait-list as we exceeded our course attendee limit during the first offering. Following the training we have received great communication with departments and they have stated how appreciative they are for the knowledge. They know which liaisons to direct the student to depending on their concern.

Keep in mind there are various ways to present this information. You may want to present it in-person or you may want to utilize your campus’s on-line learning management system to create an online course they can take as time allows.

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