Throughout 2016 NASFAA retained McKinley Advisors to assist in research focused on gaining a greater understanding of college presidents' perceptions of their financial aid offices, administrators, and the profession at large. This research included focus groups at the American Council on Education (ACE) Annual Meeting and a follow-up survey.
Summary of Key Findings
- College presidents, overall, felt that the most important function of a financial aid administrator is to act as "a technical partner that administers financial aid and ensures compliance with regulations."
- College presidents, overall, are satisfied with their financial aid administrators' ability to perform their expected job functions.
- College presidents from all segments tended to perceive financial aid administrators as "Approachable," "Professional," and as "Problem-solvers."
- College presidents from non-academic backgrounds were more receptive to receiving information related to financial aid.
- College presidents are extremely interested in receiving additional information on how to improve the relationship between and the function of their financial aid departments.
Based on the research McKinley recommended the following next steps for NASFAA to consider:
- Develop an email series specifically targeted at college and university presidents.
- Identify opportunities to provide content at president-focused conferences and events (e.g. ACE Annual Meeting).
- Consider developing standards and best practices on what a successfully integrated financial aid office looks like at colleges and universities.
- Explore viability of programming (e.g. workshops) jointly focused on college presidents and financial aid directors to foster communication, build mutual understanding and accountability, etc.