We get it. You’re busy, and you STILL haven’t started to plan for how you will tap into the momentum around National Financial Literacy Month – which kicks off in less than two weeks. Fret not Directors of Financial Aid, Steven Young, Customer Success Manager extraordinaire here at CampusLogic, has you covered. Young knows of what he speaks: He’s been counselling higher education students on financial aid for more than a decade, and he also spent almost three years as a DFA himself. His suggestions:
Create a financial literacy blog. Students can read and interact with it, posting questions. One person in the finaid office can champion this as leader, or staff can can rotate blog-writing responsibilities. Rotating responsibilities helps bring in different views and ideas on financial literacy, while distributing the blog’s workload. Rotating writing responsibilities can also serve to educate and motivate your staff, as they’ll have to come up with new topics and fun angles to draw in readers.
Host financial literacy themed events on campus. For example, if there is an hour or two set aside each Thursday that your students tend to use for social time, tap into this opportunity. Financial aid staff can host a ‘lunch and learn,’ bring in some pizza, and walk through a brief PowerPoint on loan repayment. (Offering food always helps! Remember: be brief.)
Create an email campaign. Consider making every first Monday of the month “Money Monday” and send an email with financial literacy related info. The email could include links to scholarship opportunities, links to how-to resources, or snippets from your blog. (See? That blog you started above is already paying off!)
Lead training sessions. The DFA, Assistant Director, or team lead can create trainings for the FA staff on relevant, useful financial literacy topics. Invite other departments—specifically those that often interact with students—to attend the training so that they are better-equipped to speak to students about this topic. For example, a finaid staff member could spend 30-60 minutes providing high-level training to Student Life (athletics or academic counselors, etc.) staff on literacy, offering tips on how to work the training into student conversations.
Create a telephone outreach campaign. Encourage staff to complete more calls to students who are entering repayment, providing counseling prior to any possible default situations. This can also be true for students at any stage of repayment. Depending on your school, you may already have efforts in place to reach out to students in default, but reaching out to individuals pre-default can also help.
April is National Financial Literacy Month, meaning the social-sphere will be filled with tips, resources and information to teach Americans how to establish and maintain healthy financial habits. FinAid offices should tap into this momentum to deliver relevant, creative financial aid-focused information to students and parents.