Education Department, FSA Fall Below Median in Best Places to Work in the Federal Government Rankings

By Maria Carrasco, NASFAA Staff Reporter

The Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) was ranked the 296th best place to work in the federal government out of 432 subcomponent agencies in 2021, according to the annual calculations by the Partnership for Public Service and the Boston Consulting Group. 

The 2021 rankings, released in mid-July this year, calculated that FSA had an engagement and satisfaction score of 66.6, which is over a 9-point increase from the office’s 2020 ranking. The 2021 engagement and satisfaction score is the highest score ever recorded for FSA since 2003. 

The engagement and satisfaction score is calculated by looking at responses to three different questions in the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, which ask whether employees recommend their organization as a good place to work, how satisfied they are with their job, and how satisfied they are with their organization. 

Compared to other government agencies, FSA ranked below the median engagement and satisfaction score. Some of the highest ranked agency subcomponents for 2021 include the Directorate for Education & Human Resources and Directorate for Biological Sciences at the National Science Foundation, and the Office of the Executive Director and the Office of the General Counsel at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

In 2020, FSA ranked in the lower quartile, between 0-25%, compared to other agency subcomponents. However, FSA ranked in the upper quartile, between 75-100%, compared to other agency subcomponents between 2014-16. 

FSA also had different scores based on categories. The office’s highest score was 96.1 for COVID-19 employee well-being, with the office being ranked at 38 out of 404 agency subcomponents. The category measures how employees feel their organization supported their physical and mental well-being during the pandemic. That’s about a 1-point increase from 2020. 

Also ranked highly for FSA was employees’ perception of their immediate work unit’s  performance and ability to produce high-quality work that contributes to the agency’s overall performance.

However, the lowest ranked category for the office was effective leadership of senior leaders, which had a score of 57.5 and a ranking of 309 of 432 agency subcomponents. The category measures the level of respect employees have for senior leaders, satisfaction with the amount of information provided by management, and perceptions about senior leaders’ honesty, integrity, and ability to motivate employees. Compared to 2020, that’s about a 5-point increase. 

Among midsize agencies in the federal government, the Department of Education (ED) ranked at 20 out of the 24 agencies. The department’s employee engagement and satisfaction score is 69.4, an almost 12-point increase compared to its 2020 score of 57.9. 

Additionally, demographic information from 2021’s rankings show the majority of FSA employees  (42.6%) as Black and African-American, or as white (41.5%). Another 6.4% identify as Asian, while 6.3% are Hispanic and Latino, and 2.2% identify more than one race. The office is also majority female, at 59.4%, compared to males at 40.6%.


Publication Date: 8/2/2022

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