New Approaches are Needed to Bridge the Gaps, Better Support Students and Staff

Higher education has been hit hard by the Great Resignation, so it’s no surprise that Financial Aid and Scholarship offices are also experiencing difficulties finding qualified staff knowledgeable on the latest state and federal regulations. Institutions across the U.S. are experiencing vacancies and shortages in Financial Aid staffing.

It is essential that students and families understand the requirements and deadlines for qualifying for aid and staying eligible. Questions about affordability and next steps are important parts of the college-going process as students attempt to weigh the pros and cons of the investment in a college degree while lacking confidence about their ability to afford college.

Of this fall’s senior class, 75% will eliminate colleges based on published costs, and only 25% is confident that they will be able to afford college once they are admitted. Financial aid and scholarship office outreach is even more critical than ever with 21% of your current college first-year students having no access to counseling support in high school.

But how can financial aid teams drive these vital connections of informing students, families, and high school counselors when their time and talents are spread so thin? How can institutions prepare larger classes with less staff who are fully trained on the ever-changing, complex financial aid processes?

Effectively engage and inform your incoming and returning students through the all-in-one solution from PlatformQ Education.

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Conduit – Creating an on-demand library of quick, exciting videos to explain the high-level points of what scholarships are offered, what documents are needed for FAFSA, what offices at the university serve which function, and more can be available for your audience to review on their schedule. It’s also perfect for hosting live Q&A FAFSA workshops so that students can get all of their questions addressed in real time!

Workflow – Workflow brings automation to personalization. Because each student’s financial aid status may be different, each series of videos and surveys is tailored to their needs. Strategically outline which content they receive in pre-identified tracks, while also allowing students to choose their own journey during sections of Workflow, indicating what topics they still want to learn more about and being provided with additional videos and information that aligns with their needs. Ensure each student understands what is required and has viewed all important information, and gain rich report data on who still needs to complete which steps — all with Workflow. Alleviate your staffing time by using pre-recorded content, at scale, and know that the information everyone is getting is accurate and complete.

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Live Chat – Setting up appointments to speak with financial aid staff is not a luxury every family can receive. Having a live chat available on the Financial Aid page of your .edu website can better manage quick questions that come up, alleviating staff schedules and streamlining the information-gathering stage. In addition, live chats can be leveraged directly in your Conduit platform. Your team gets to choose the dates and times when live chat is offered. Whether these chats complement a live or pre-recorded session or are hosted on their own in an office hours type format, give your students and their families the opportunity to speak to your team without the need for an email or phone call.

Financial aid teams are an integral part to a student’s success, and finding the right solution that uses your resources more efficiently is a key to continuing that success. Don’t let staffing shortages dictate the support you provide students when you have a solution that allows you to virtually engage in a personalized, yet scalable, way.