NASFAA Creates Toolkit to Reduce Implicit Bias in Financial Aid Policies

"When Michael Birchett first started reading Satisfactory Academic Progress appeals as a financial aid administrator, he came across one student who was unable to attend class for an extended period due to a flat tire," Diverse: Issues in Higher Education reports. 

..."To mitigate the negative impact of implicit bias, specifically in college financial aid offices, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) published the 'Implicit Bias Toolkit.'

The toolkit offers best practices to financial aid administrators to address biases in policies related to institutional forms, communication, cost of attendance, scholarships, student worker programs, verification and professional judgment.

'It really challenges assumptions, challenges those biases and helps direct people on the critical steps to take to neutralize some of those forces,”'said Dr. Christina Tangalakis, associate dean of student financial aid services at Glendale Community College and co-author of the toolkit.

She said that to make institutional changes, individuals must first recognize their own biases—which extends beyond race and ethnicity. Assessments, such as the Harvard Project Implicit Bias Test, are available online as an educational tool.

She said that learning can also take place by having conversations with others from different backgrounds, challenging underrepresentation in work environments, reading articles and participating in implicit bias training sessions.

'We all carry our own biases that are based on the life that we have lived and the things that we have been exposed to,' said Dana Kelly, vice president of professional development and institutional compliance at NAFSAA."

NASFAA's "Notable Headlines" section highlights media coverage of financial aid to help members stay up to date with the latest news. Articles included under the notable headlines section are not written by NASFAA, but rather by external sources. Inclusion in Today's News does not imply endorsement of the material or guarantee the accuracy of information presented.


Publication Date: 7/20/2021

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