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"Call the financial aid office!" - Monday Musings

By Kathy Kurz on Feb 06, 2012

Are you reaching out to families whose financial circumstances may have changed?

Tags: administrative, financial aid, recruitment strategies


OK, I admit it. I am addicted to the television show "Parenthood." So imagine my husband’s surprise a couple of weeks ago when I began shouting at the TV during a recent episode...

“CALL THE FINANCIAL AID OFFICE.”

Families that have experienced changes in their financial situations should call the financial aid office.One of the characters, Hattie, had just gotten accepted into Cornell, and her parents were thinking they would have to tell her to withdraw the application because the father had lost his job and was now working with his brother in a start-up company. It occurred to me that shouting at fictional characters on the TV was probably not the best way for me to express my concern – hence this blog.

I urge you all to take another look at the communications you have regarding affordability and financial aid to be sure that you have included an invitation to families whose financial circumstances may have changed to reach out to the financial aid office.

While we certainly discourage our clients from bending to the frivolous appeal – “I got a better offer from school down the road” – responding to changes in financial circumstances is a completely different matter. If you haven’t already sent strong messages about affordability to your families, do it now! Almost all of our clients see a large percentage of their admitted students not applying for financial aid each year, and yield rates on these students are very low. Granted, many of these students have probably sent their financial aid applications elsewhere, and have simply lost interest in that particular institution. But others may be like Hattie and her parents – unaware that they might be able to afford your institution if they would simply reach out to the financial aid office.

Image © iStockphoto.


Kathy KurzAbout the author: Vice President Kathy Kurz's special area of expertise is in developing strategic financial aid and retention programs, designed to enhance enrollment and net tuition revenue results. A former Associate Vice President at the University of Rochester and Director of Financial Aid at Earlham College, she pays special attention to ensuring that the solutions recommended are practical, detailed, and implementable.

Kathy contributes regularly to University Business, authored a chapter entitled The Changing Role of Financial Aid and Enrollment Management in New Directions for Student Services, a Jossey-Bass publication, and speaks at national conferences and seminars such as NACUBO, Academic Impressions, and CIC.

Connect with Kathy on LinkedIn.


Comments (2)

  1. Joe B.

    Joe B.
    Feb 28, 2012 at 09:17 AM

    I thought I was the only one that gets upset with the way college financial aid is portrayed on tv! It's usually the same storyline: Smart student, wacky family situation, no way Johnny can aford college because he didn't get "a scholarship." When I send my staff to do high school presentations, I stress to them to make it very clear to families: Call the financial aid office! They can't help you if they don't know what is going on with you!

  2. Kathy Kurz

    Kathy Kurz
    Mar 13, 2012 at 09:21 AM

    I couldn't agree more, Joe. Thanks for taking the time to respond.






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