Your FinAid Office is humming along super-efficiently. Students are loving uploading documentation via mobile device, staff are loving how your built-in email and text alerts keep students on task, always moving ahead in the verification process. Suddenly, you have more free time in your 9am-5pm day. (We told you it would happen, but we understand that it likely felt impossible back in your paper-process, line-out-the-door days.)
Our Customer Success Team weighs in with 10 ideas for FinAid offices that have extra time on their hands:
Raise Financial Awareness.
- There’s never enough time in the day for these types of efforts. Students will always need guidance on how to best manage their loans. Don’t forget, Financial Literacy Month is in April, which is just around the corner. Start planning with these ideas!
Redecorate The FinAid Office.
- Now that you’re cloud-based you don’t need to keep mountains of paper, and that might equate to fewer filing cabinets. Might be time to spruce up that space!
Improve Default Prevention.
- Unless your institution’s cohort default rate is 0%, there’s always work to do. Retention and completion remain high priorities (and high profile) for all higher education institutions. Host a FinAid brainstorm session to generate new ideas to reduce your default rate–or think bigger and include other departments. You never know where the next great idea will come from!
- Working with the athletic and student life departments, for example, can be priceless. When staff/faculty who have high student interaction are empowered to speak the language of FinAid, they can be very impactful. If training is too weighty to implement right away, start by asking to be included on quarterly meetings where you can build relationships with other departments.
- Thumb-twiddling develops greater hand-core strength and dexterity, and can improve typing speeds by 20 wpm (don’t quote us on that). We’re not sure how much it will improve your texting speed, but since mobile is where your students are, better texting dexterity is awesome!
Improve Student Outreach.
- What seminars or campaigns would you put in place to help new/freshmen understand debt consumption? Or seminars to help ready-to-graduate students with loan consolidation efforts? Does your office use social for student engagement? Do you host regular events? All great efforts to undertake!
Dig Into Your Data.
- Your FinAid office has mountains of data, but you may not have had time to dig into the information to build insights and trends—until now, that is! Our 2016 NASFAA FABSS blog “Make Your FinAid Data Actionable,” can help you get started.
Go Back To School.
- No, really. One of our customers noted she was finishing her Master’s Degree now that she had more free time.
- NASFAA and the regional Student Financial Aid Administrators groups are always looking for feedback, task force members, opinions, and volunteers. Consider sharing your knowledge and collaborating to drive innovation in the industry.
#10 Is Up To You
- We left this one blank (tricked you with our headline, didn’t we?). We’d like to know what ideas are missing from this list. What would YOU do extra time in the FinAid Office?
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