Certification Overview

FAAC BadgeThe FAAC® designation awarded through NASFAA's Certified Financial Aid Administrator® Program affirms the individual possesses foundational knowledge necessary to effectively administer Title IV federal student aid programs at colleges and universities across the country as a financial aid professional. 

Eligibility Criteria 

Combination of:

  • Education (bachelor's degree or higher)
  • Examination (pass comprehensive certification exam)
  • Ethics (self-certify; acknowledge agreement to abide by NASFAA's Statement of Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct)
  • Experience (have worked as a financial aid administrator for at least 1 year, minimum, depending on pathway; experience with a range of Title IV programs; NASFAA credentials)

Multiple pathways:

  • BA degree + exam + ethics + 5 years' experience
  • BA degree + exam + ethics + 3 years' experience + 7 NASFAA credentials
  • BA degree + exam + ethics + 1 year's experience + 12 NASFAA credentials
  • No Bachelor’s degree + ethics agreement + 10 years' experience

Certification Knowledge Exam

The certification Knowledge Exam was developed and is maintained according credentialing industry standards under the guidance of a qualified psychometrician. Consisting of approximately 115 multiple choice questions, the online exam assesses knowledge of twelve competency areas:

  • Institutional Eligibility
  • Data Management
  • Administrative Capability
  • Consumer Information
  • Cash Management
  • Student Eligibility
  • Cost of Attendance and Need Analysis
  • Awarding and Packaging
  • Verification
  • Return of Title IV Funds
  • Satisfactory Academic Progress
  • Professional Judgment

Upon passing the certification Knowledge Exam, the FAAC® designation is conferred. 

Recertification - Certification Maintenance 

To remain active, a certified individual must accumulate 60 recertification points (RPs) within the three year certification period. RPs are earned through completing financial aid-related continuing education, qualifying leadership, instruction, authorship, advocacy, and other activities contributing to the profession. A full list of approved activities can be found here. 

Purpose of the Certified Financial Aid Administrator® Program  CFAA Program Logo

The purpose of NASFAA's Certified Financial Aid Administrator® Program is to enhance the future of the financial aid community by inspiring quality job performance, encouraging continuous learning, and promoting professional development among financial aid administrators at colleges and universities across the country. The certification program helps the higher education community and its stakeholders recognize financial aid administrators for their knowledge and experience, their role as stewards of taxpayer dollars and institutional funds, their contributions to the success of their institutions and their students, and their commitment to the highest standards of ethical behavior.

Certified Financial Aid Administrator® Program Commission

The Commission of the Certified Financial Aid Administrator® Program serves as the independent certifying body of NASFAA that awards the FAAC® designation, and sets policy and standards related to the certification program. The Commission adheres to the Commission Standing Rules and Policies. NASFAA members can read through the actions of the Commission in the approved meeting minutes.

For More Information

To learn more about the certification, review the Candidate Handbook and the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). Still have questions? Email the certification program staff at [email protected].

Candidate Handbook | Certification FAQs | Email [email protected]

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