By Chris Chumley
Change is certainly on the horizon for Financial Aid offices. For example, students can soon submit a FAFSA earlier and use financial data from prior-prior year (PPY). In other news, the Department of Education is discontinuing the Quality Assurance (QA) program. How is your school’s FinAid office thinking through resource allocation—dollars, time, staff, technology, etc., —to prepare for these changes? Wish you had a crystal ball to know in advance if you’re making the right moves?
Meet your digital crystal ball
FA Offices that use data to better understand previous patterns of processing volume and the historic profile of their student population do have a crystal ball. Transparency to this type of data enables them to prepare and more effectively allocate resources. CampusMetrics by CampusLogic is an analytics and data visualization platform offering the industry’s fastest-to-implement and easiest-to-use business intelligence built specifically for the Financial Aid Office.
Here are two examples of CampusLogic’s pre-built ISIR Insights that can be used by FA Directors to prepare their offices for the changes we know are coming—and to be better prepared for changes we haven’t yet heard of.
Know your ISIR submission rate by award year
Identifying patterns in a FinAid office’s submission rates can help the FA Director shift internal processes, resources, and timelines to optimize efficiencies. Identifying submission patterns can also empower FinAid offices to help other departments be more proactive and less reactionary in the face of change. Think of the potential impact to Student Services messaging, IT roadmap refinement, and leadership awareness.
In the ISIR Submission by Award Year chart below, the various color-coded bars represent new ISIR records by month of the year. The number represents the first month the FAFSA is open for the Aid Year. Previously, this was January. For the 2017/2018 aid year it will be October. This chart allows an FA Director to see the pattern of submissions and estimate how the pattern will shift early FAFSA. Typical activities that occur in the Aid Office can then be adjusted to fit the shifted pattern.
Institutions whose analytics are powered by CampusMetrics will also be the first in the country able to visualize the true impact of early FAFSA on volume of applications. That means you’ll easily be able to see how frequently the new open date was used by students—and how many students chose to submit later in the cycle.
Better estimate peak periods of parent outreach
Processes and resources, including staffing allocation, within your Financial Aid office can be optimized based upon trends identified in the ISIR Volume Trends by Dependency Status insight. This insight shows the total ISIR volume by month, categorized by dependency status. By determining peak periods filtered by dependency, FinAid offices can prepare for the anticipated volume of parent interaction and potential opportunities for parent outreach.
Differences in volume caused by dependency status and its effect on when FAFSAs are completed can also be gleaned from the below visualization.
Identifying patterns in your FinAid office data to proactively help you staff, adjust resources, and optimize efficiencies across your institution just makes sense. And with CampusMetrics you kind of have a crystal ball, only better. Because crystal balls are heavy and not super portable. CampusMetrics is integration-light (live in five minutes!), and travels with you everywhere on your phone.
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