New NASFAA Toolkit Provides Guidance to Help Colleges Build and Deploy Unbiased Financial Aid Policies

WASHINGTON, DC, Wednesday, July 21, 2021 — Flip to the editorial page of any newspaper to observe that scholars, educators, and policymakers nationwide are engaged in passionate conversations about the negative impacts of unchecked racial and other biases in our laws, culture, and day-to-day lives. 

While there are many unknowns as we move toward a post-pandemic world, we know with certainty that education is still a great equalizer that can make our society a better, more inclusive place  and that the purpose of financial aid is to ensure everyone has equal access to postsecondary education. Financial aid administrators — as one of the key facilitators of educational access for students — have an important role to play in reducing the operational influence of implicit bias related to racial, ethnic, gender, and cultural identity; spoken language and/or accents; religion; age; sexual orientation; socioeconomic status; nationality; and more.

The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) today published an Implicit Bias Toolkit which aims to help financial aid offices at institutions of higher education across the country establish a neutral basis from which to build policies and deploy procedures in the administration of financial aid. The toolkit is the culmination of exhaustive work by a task force of NASFAA members charged with identifying and reducing bias in the administration of financial aid. It is meant to help aid administrators think about how they develop: 

  • Financial aid forms
  • Communications 
  • Cost of attendance policies 
  • Scholarship policies
  • Student worker programs
  • Verification policies 
  • Professional judgment

"As financial aid administrators, we have the tools at our disposal to push for a more socially just world, but we must first start by identifying and dismantling the impact of implicit bias in the financial aid process," said NASFAA President Justin Draeger. "Despite the best intentions, we may not be privy to the ingrained biases we, or our processes, carry that could inadvertently negatively impact the academic trajectory of the diverse student populations we serve. We implore financial aid offices, and college and university leadership, to use this toolkit as a jumping off point to examine current processes and make necessary changes where changes are needed to better serve all financial aid applicants and recipients."

To request an interview with a NASFAA spokesperson, please email Director of Marketing and Communications Erin Powers.


The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) is a nonprofit membership organization that represents more than 28,000 financial aid professionals at nearly 3,000 colleges, universities, and career schools across the country. NASFAA member institutions serve nine out of every 10 undergraduates in the United States. Based in Washington, D.C., NASFAA is the only national association with a primary focus on student aid legislation, regulatory analysis, and training for financial aid administrators. For more information, visit

Publication Date: 7/21/2021

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