Financial-Aid Offices Are Short-Staffed — and Some Are ‘Drowning’ as a Result

"Many financial-aid offices are understaffed and struggling to fill open positions, according to new survey results from the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. The findings, released on Tuesday, echo a major concern within a profession that helps keep higher education’s wheels turning: Leaner staffs with a long list of responsibilities are finding it more difficult to serve students while complying with federal and state regulations," The Chronicle of Higher Education reports.

..."Empty seats come with high stakes: Understaffing can jeopardize customer service. Fifty-six percent of respondents said they were at least slightly concerned about their ability to adequately serve students, who often seek help with many tasks, such as completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, repaying their loans, and seeking loan forgiveness. 'When there are staffing shortages, among the first things that go out the door are student-serving activities,' Karen McCarthy, the association’s vice president for public policy and federal relations. 'It’s ‘We can’t do these FAFSA-completion nights anymore, because we just don’t have the time.’

Students at colleges with understaffed offices might notice reduced hours for walk-ins and appointments — and longer processing times. Since the pandemic began, many financial-aid offices have seen a surge in requests for professional judgment, which is a time-consuming process. That’s just one task that might further tax an understaffed office. 'In the past, once you turned in all your documents, you would get a decision in a week,” McCarthy said. “Now, maybe it’s three weeks.'"

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: 5/24/2022

View Desktop Version