Monday, February 8, 2016

Financial aid administrators have learned the cure to the limbic system

Submitted by: Mo Amos, ILASFAA President-Elect & member of the NASFAA PPY Task Force


What is the Limbic System?

Well some of us call it the ‘Chicken Little’ system, but the Limbic System is much more scientific than that.  The Limbic System is the complex system of nerves and networks in our brain that lives on the edge of the cortex that dictates our instincts and mood.  It controls our basic emotions (e.g. anxiety, fear) and it drives our reactions.  Financial Aid Administrators without even being aware in the midst of it all have assumed the role of the emotional intelligence necessary to avert over reacting to a workplace of constant change.  Whether that change is driven by regulations or by our institutions, we envision proactively with our teams, create appropriate goals and assess skill set necessary to move forward without impacting the students and families we serve.

What is in the current Radar of Change?  The Early FAFSA!

Well that is all ‘Prior-Prior’ year is – an early FAFSA.  All that is changing at the end of the day is what base year income is being used to complete the application.  How do we as a financial aid community reduce the level of anxiety around The Early FAFSA in our communication plan to senior level administration, admission offices and high school guidance counselors?  Part of the NASFAA PPY Task Force Communication Plan is to offer a toolkit to the financial aid community containing a table with dates and deadlines that institutions can place on their websites and/or distribute to target audiences (e.g. administration, high school guidance counselors).  The position of the National College Access Network or NCAN is that students and families use the additional time that The Early FAFSA provides to research college choice opportunities.  The May 1 decision day is not anticipated to change at this point.

So back to our question, how can we reduce the level of anxiety surrounding The Early FAFSA?  Again, we as a profession have the working of the neo-cortex – the rational brain – to lower this emotional center.  Some ideas include inviting someone from the NASFAA PPY Task Force to facilitate a listening session at regional or state conferences.  What is your State Association identifying as a best practice for implementing The Early FAFSA?  What is your institution doing?

Let’s talk! Share your thoughts in the comments below.


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