"When student aid was disbursed at the beginning of the fall semester, the financial aid office at the University of Texas at Arlington just couldn’t keep up. Emails and phone calls from students and parents poured into the office. And even though the employees were doing their best, some queries didn’t receive responses for a couple of weeks. As at many other colleges and universities across the country, the financial aid office was short-staffed," Inside Higher Ed reports.
..."'Not only does it decrease services to students, especially at a time when students need the most help, but understaffing can also have a big impact on a school’s ability to be in compliance with the litany of federal and state requirements,' said Justin Draeger, president and CEO of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.
That compliance is especially important now, with a new presidential administration that plans to crack down on institutions that aren’t adhering to federal student aid program rules. The Office of Federal Student Aid at the Department of Education recently announced that it’s reviving the Office of Enforcement -- which was deprioritized under the Trump administration -- to “strengthen oversight of and enforcement actions against postsecondary schools that participate in the federal student loan, grant and work-study programs.
'In the end, schools can pay now -- by hiring and retaining staff -- or pay later, when they are found out of compliance and face possible federal fines and penalties,' Draeger said."
..."While there aren’t quantitative data showing increased staffing shortages at financial aid offices, observational data point to it being a widespread trend, said Draeger. During a meeting last month for financial aid administrators in the Midwest, the majority of participants indicated they had vacancies in their offices. And over the last year, NASFAA has noticed an uptick in interest from institutions in the temporary staffing assistance that the association provides."
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: 11/2/2021