The Campus Financial Aid Office Pressure Cooker
Submitted by Ted Lannan, Inceptia Market Research Director
Inceptia’s release of their 2013 online national survey has garnered striking results. Inspired by a pioneering 25 year-old California stress study and built upon the indispensable findings of surveys such as the Parthenon Groups’ 2013 release, “How Can Improved College Services Better Retain Students?”, Inceptia’s recently completed stress study survey has uncovered a correlation between stress levels in nationwide financial aid offices, employee productivity, and student/borrower dissatisfaction that is difficult to dispute.
Briefly stated, the results of the survey show a critical need for relief. A 2008 NASFAA survey of Financial Aid Administrators’ Job Satisfaction reported that more than 96 percent are proud of their job in the financial aid office, however nearly two-thirds of survey respondents regard the level of stress in a financial aid office to be different - more intense - than other offices. More than 60 percent of financial aid officers report inadequate budgets and number of staff. Partnered with high-stress indicators like a perpetually growing bump in financial aid applications, the expansion of the Pell Grant program, consistent regulatory paperwork and policy changes, and increasing demand for quality student-FAO face time, a measurable recipe for disaster is in the making.
Inceptia’s stress study breaks down these high-stress indicators into four “pain point” categories delineated by the Parthenon Groups’ 2013 study. Each category is studied empirically through respondent answers and compared with foundational survey studies of the past to measure growth over time, current relevancy, and create attainable solutions for institutions.
The conclusion is clear: financial aid offices are in need of reinforcements in order to keep up with demand, and barring that reality, student borrowers and their families suffer the consequences of less-than-adequate services regarding their education, financial capabilities and future success.
To find definitive solutions as to how can your institution can alleviate Financial Aid Office woes while offering students innovative solutions to their financial aid needs, download Inceptia’s full brief for more detail here.