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NASFAA Volunteer Group Explores Needs of “Under-Resourced” Schools

By Hugh T. Ferguson, NASFAA Staff Reporter  

Stretching resources is nothing new for financial aid offices but in the wake of the pandemic institutions of higher education will have to work harder to allocate their administrative and programmatic funding and, for schools already familiar with a lack of resources, those challenges are slated to be a significant burden.

In a discussion held the final day of the NASFAA 2021 Virtual Conference, a group of financial aid professionals focused in on how institutions can deal with insufficient resources and serve large numbers of disadvantaged and/or low-income students.

As a part of a volunteer working group, a trio of NASFAA members created a working definition of “under-resourced” schools, determined the scope of NASFAA members impacted, explored and identified the challenges these schools face, and brainstormed ways NASFAA can help meet their needs.

The specific definition for an “under-resourced” institution that meets the following criteria: an institution whose core expenses per full-time equivalent (FTE) exceeded their core revenues per FTE for three consecutive years.

The volunteer group collected data from an Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) Finance survey and found that 829 schools fall into this category, with approximately 41% of these being NASFAA members. Additionally approximately 66.7% of the schools had FTE below 1,000 and 43% of the schools had FTE below 250.

The conversation delved into insight from thought force members David Page, vice president for enrollment management at Dillard University, and Kelly Morrissey, director of financial aid at Community College of Rhode Island, who identified the challenges that these institutions face and in what ways recent federal aid could benefit members.

Conference participants were able to submit questions pertinent to their institution that will push the conversation forward in terms of metrics.

The discussion also delved into how the virtual environment has enabled participation and saved smaller schools their resources.

“At an under-resourced school, when you can’t travel to a NASFAA conference or to a regional conference or a state conference, the virtual conference concept has really been beneficial,” said Andrew Hammontree, financial aid director at Francis Tuttle Technology Center.

There is still much to be discussed and as the pandemic continues to wane with many institutions set to resume in-person instruction this fall, budgetary questions will likely arise.

“This is not a conversation that is going to end, getting to the other end of the national emergency,” Hammontree said. “This is a conversation that will have to continue for a long time to come.”

Want to catch up on other conference content you may have missed? Registered conference attendees can access session recordings, handouts, and Today’s News recaps on our 2021 Virtual Conference Sessions webpage. Recordings will be available for one year after their original air dates.

 

Publication Date: 6/28/2021


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