NASFAA offers nationally-recognized, consistent, and rigorous training programs in administering the Title IV student financial aid programs designed for both new and seasoned financial aid professionals. NASFAA offers education opportunities for all learning styles. Decide which opportunity is best for you:
NASFAA training materials are well-respected in the industry. Professionals who complete these learning activities may be recognized for their efforts by earning professional designations.
The chart below explains the differences between NASFAA's different professional development opportunities and designations: NASFAA Professional Credentials, NASFAA U Certificates, NASFAA U Specialist Designation, and the Certified Financial Aid Administrator® (CFAA) Program.
|Certified Financial Aid Administrator® (CFAA) Program||NASFAA U Specialist Designation||Professional Credentials||NASFAA U Certificates|
|Focus||The Certified Financial Aid Administrator® Program Knowledge Exam assesses the broader knowledge required of a financial aid administrator across multiple subject areas.||The NASFAA U Specialist designation is reserved for those who can correctly apply the knowledge of the treatment of Title IV aid concepts across a variety of challenging scenarios, each involving multiple facets to consider.||
Professional Credentials are a deep dive into regulatory areas associated with the administration of Title IV Aid.
|NASFAA U Certificates are professional development opportunities aimed at expanding managerial, leadership, and other competencies associated with financial aid administration and related student services professions that rely on student financial aid.|
|Pathways||The CFAA Program application verifies you meet the eligibility criteria — that is, the education, experience, and commitment to ethical behavior — necessary to qualify to take the Certified Financial Aid Administrator® Knowledge Exam.||
To earn the Specialist designation, individuals must:
(1) Complete the corresponding online course with a passing grade of at least 93%; (2) Hold the corresponding NASFAA Credential; and (3) Complete the scenario-based Specialist exam with a passing score.
Any of four possible pathways help you gain access to a specific credential test:(1) Complete independent study of the topic using a Self-Study Guide; (2) Successfully complete the instructor-led NASFAA U Online Course for the topic; (3) Demonstrate five or more years of well-rounded professional experience; or (4) Attend a NASFAA Authorized Event that uses the approved NASFAA curriculum for the credential topic.
|Open. There are no prerequisites to take the instructor-led online courses associated with NASFAA U Certificates.|
|Assessment||To become certified, you must qualify for and pass the Certified Financial Aid Administrator® Knowledge Exam.||To earn the Specialist designation, you must qualify for and pass the corresponding scenario-based test.||To earn a credential, you must pass the corresponding credential test.||To earn a certificate, you must successfully complete and pass the online course for the certificate offered.|
|Continuing Education Requirement||Certified individuals must recertify every three years, which requires accumulating recertification points by completing various professional development activities.||
None. If you choose, you may renew any of your Specialist designations to demonstrate continued competency despite regulatory changes over time.
None. If you choose, you may renew any of your Professional Credentials to demonstrate continued competency despite regulatory changes over time.
None. If you choose, you may renew any of your NASFAA U Certificates to support your ongoing professional development needs.
NASFAA Professional Credentials| NASFAA U Certificates| FAQs