Financial Aid Action Plan
John W. Dysart
The Dysart Group
At the time of writing, the new FAFSA is still not available for students and families, and it is unclear when colleges and universities will have access to the results. This uncertainty requires targeted actions by institutions to mitigate the negative impact of the financial aid processing delay this cycle.
- Add an update on the home page of the website now indicating the new FAFSA availability is anticipated to be on December 31, 2023.
- Indicate on the home page that students will be sent an email and a postcard reminder to apply for financial aid as soon as FAFSA is available online.
- Be prepared to add a notice that the new FAFSA is available on the home page of the website as soon as it is available. Encourage all admission applicants and currently enrolled students to apply for financial aid immediately.
- Send a letter from the Director of Financial Aid to the home address of all currently enrolled students and applicants for admission with an update on the anticipated date of FAFSA availability. Note that an email reminder and a postcard will be sent to students to notify them when the online FAFSA is up. Indicate that the institution will be prepared to start packaging students soon after the FAFSA is available and that it is important for students to complete the FAFSA as soon as it is available.
- Work with the student newspaper to publish an article with an interview with the Director of Financial Aid on the delay and another article soon after the FAFSA is available. If it is possible to post advertisements in the student newspaper throughout the cycle, do so.
- Send an email and a postcard to all currently enrolled students at the end of December the day the new electronic FAFSA is available encouraging all students to apply for financial aid. Include in the email and post card that packaging students will commence soon after.
- Send a second reminder postcard to all admission applicants and currently enrolled students in the middle of January with the same message.
- It will be more important than ever to send reminders to all students who have not applied for financial aid at least once every three weeks for the rest of the cycle.
- Plan to post updates and reminders on campus (on electronic boards and posters) to coincide with the availability of the new electronic FAFSA.
- Consider one day in January for each faculty member to announce the availability of the new FAFSA at the beginning of class for all courses.
- Ensure that all academic advisors are aware of the changes this year.
- Ensure that all coaches are aware of the delays this year and specifically provide updates when the FAFSA becomes available and when you begin packaging.
- Consider creating a short video that can be texted to all admission applicants and currently enrolled students now and another when the FAFSA is available.
- If you have an internal text platform to communicate with currently enrolled students, use it to discuss the delay as soon as possible and again when the new FAFSA is available.
- If you have any assemblies or public meetings with students in January, be sure to update students during the event.
Taking proactive measures to address the financial aid processing delays this year is imperative. Active and systematic communication on this issue will be helpful throughout the year.