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Getting In Touch With Generation Y. Why do we need to get to know our students?. Students may not understand who or what Financial Aid does. Students may have questions, but do not know where to turn.

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why do we need to get to know our students
Why do we need to get to know our students?
  • Students may not understand who or what Financial Aid does.
  • Students may have questions, but do not know where to turn.
  • You, as Financial Aid Counselors, will play a heavy role in these students lives during their college education.
  • Its a lot harder to help somebody with their intricate problems, if you do not understand their background or where they are coming from. This can lead to confusion, frustration, and anger on the part of both parties.
what is changing in gen y
What is changing in Gen. Y?
  • Individualism leads to increased productivity and further success rate in the end.
  • Students are becoming disconnected with obligations, particularly of the financing nature. 
  • Some of us are becoming disconnected period.
what will getting to know them do
What will getting to know them do?
  • Getting to know your students will better help you align to their needs, and thus better formulate methods of interacting with them. This in turn will allow you to work with them in a more confident, salient, and flowing manner.
  • I took a survey of students, the results were...

Less than satisfactory.

survey results
Survey Results
  • One student knew, and understood what the acronym EFC meant… The depressing part, I know the girl, her father is an accountant.
  • Less than half of the students even knew how much they currently owe in student loans.
  • Many students were not aware where, WVU Main Campus’s Financial Aid Office even is.
  • On the plus side, many did know the FAFSA is due in March.
suggestions on how to correct this problem
Suggestions on how to correct this problem.
  • Don't use acronyms! (EFC,SAP,COA) 
    • The only acronym you should use is KISS.
    • Please spell out everything, EFC should be said “Estimated Family Contribution” not “EFC”.
    • Further still, if you have the time, define these terms, explain where they come from and upon what they are based.
suggestions continued
Suggestions Continued
  • Students are likely to be out of touch with reality, you need to bring them back.
    • State to them their loan amounts, then ask them to repeat it back to you, or even write it down. 
    • Exact amounts are not necessary, but an approximate number is. 
    • Make sure they understand this is real money. Not just a charge on their parents credit cards.
suggestions continued1
Suggestions Continued
  • Students probably particularly don't care or think they have little efficacy with personal finances—to many of them their parents will deal with it.
    • Problem here—their parents are not primarily responsible for student loans and financial aid obligations.
    • Second problem—this type of thought process can lead to financial irresponsibility currently, and into the future. The type of irresponsibility which can lead to default.
    • Stress to the students, this is their money they are spending not their parents.
customer service
Customer Service
  • Students these days feel a sense of entitlement—and many lack general respect.
    • Even if the student is swearing at you, you must maintain your decorum and remain in control of the situation. 
    • Also take into account, the student is likely to be aggressive towards you if they don't understand or only partially understand the situation—to them, a system which does not give them everything they want is illogical and wrong.
    • Take the time to explain to the student and make the issue, whatever it might be, quite clear to them.
customer service continued
Customer Service Continued
  • Now you might be asking yourself, what don’t we have to do for these students?
    • You do not need to fill their information out for them.
    • You should not submit to consistent harassment from a particularly beleaguering student ( or their parent as the case may be).
    • As much as you may feel like you already are, you do not, and should not, hold these students hands.
students today
Students Today.
  • In this modern day and age, students are used to and expect instant gratification.
    • We don't want to wait for our checks in the mail.
    • We want our information in the system immediately.
    • We don't want to spend time talking to a Financial Aid Counselor when we could be hanging out with friends or watching TV.( Even though the former is for our benefit)
students today1
Students Today.
  • We are fundamentally lazy, sometimes in a good way. 
  • We don't like to be talked over, talked down-too, or to feel like we don't know what's going on.
  • We are very unlikely to admit we don't know something.
  • We are arrogant, ignorant, and in short we are still children.
  • Ever heard of the terrible 2s?  Add a zero.
the disconnect what students aren t getting
The Disconnect: What Students aren't getting.
  • That paper they just glanced over and signed, is an agreement to a loan.
  • Loans must be paid back.
  • Loans cannot be forgiven if you declare bankruptcy.
  • Their GPA matters! Now more than ever, a Student's GPA can determine their eligibility for Financial Aid.
  • Their individual Credit Score will begin to take precedence, you cannot rely on your parents for everything anymore.
the disconnect
The Disconnect
  • The federal government is decreasing some available funds for students, so they may end up owing more this semester, or year, than in the past. Its nothing you, as a financial aid counselor, can do—its simply a hard fact of life.
  • Loans, even Federal Direct, can and will be reflected on a Credit Score, even though a Credit Check is not necessarily required to obtain them.
  • Lastly, money does not grow on trees or come out of ATMs. Nor is it printed by your father in his wallet. And no, you cannot just get a loan for every single thing you want.
  • Meet with the student, face to face contact in a private setting will allow you to obtain a trusted connection to that Student.
  • Schedule appointments with them ahead of time if possible. This will allow for you to get more work done in the long run, and less waiting time on the students part as well. It will also allow for you to prepare to meet that students specific needs.
meet continued
Meet Continued

For example:

(On the phone) “Hello, this is Mr. Finn, how may I help you?”, Mr. Finn ( a Fin Aid Counselor) answered the phone.

“Hi, I am Student A, and I have a few questions I would like to ask about summer enrolment, may I schedule an appointment with you?”

“Yes, you may, I am available from 3 pm until 4:45 pm on Wednesday, does that work for you?”

“Um… yes 3:30 pm should be fine.”

“Very well, 3:30 pm on Wednesday it is, I will look forward to seeing you then.”

“Thanks! Have a nice day!”

“You too.”

  •   Greet them cordially, extending hand-shakes and pleasantries, this sense of professionalism may prompt them to take the situation much more seriously, while at the same time allow them to remain disarmed. The idea is to remove the anxiety some students face when coming to 'official' areas of business. 
greet continued
Greet Continued

Example Continued:

“Hello, Student A, how are you? Lovely weather we are having today.” said Mr. Finn while shaking Student A’s hand.

Student A returning the greeting, “ Yes, ha it seems like its always raining around here.”

Mr. Finn, “Would you follow me into my office, please”

Student A, “Sure”.

  • Seat the student, allow them to become comfortable, do not seem rushed. Display a sense of calmness and control of your surroundings. This makes the student feel like he or she is in good hands, they are also more likely to ask questions if they don't feel like they are wasting someone else's time.
  • Allow the student to present his or her situation, talk a bit about themselves. Ask them what their major(s) is(are), how classes are going, and if they are enjoying their time at college.
seat continued
Seat Continued.
  • This 'intimacy' will socialize the student to accept the Financial Aid Office as a nice place to go, it will let them feel welcome and cared for in a personal manner. They are also more likely to return to that specific Financial Aid Counselor in the future if they have more problems or questions.
  • This will allow for personalization—individuals , especially students today, love to feel personalized.
seat continued1
Seat Continued
  • Example Continued:

Mr. Finn, “Please sit down, now we have met before, but remind me what your major is”

Student A, “ I am currently majoring in sociology.”

“Sociology, how do you like it? The study of peoples’ behavior in society right?”

“Yeah! Its really interesting, you know, its something I really enjoy.”





  • Teach. This is the most important step of the process. 
teach inform
Teach: Inform

Lay it out before them, be as blunt (but polite) as possible

  • "You have XX in Federal Loans“
  • “You have YY in Private Loans
  • “You will be expected to pay ZZ per month on your student loans”

Give them all relevant information they may need to know.

teach inform continued
Teach: Inform Continued
  • Example Continued:

Student A says, “I am interested in taking two summer classes over the summer at WVU, what do I need to do.”

Mr. Finn says, “Well first you will need to fill out a form for summer aid. Second you should realize you may need to take out more loans, and the per credit cost depends on which college you are enrolled in.”

teach instruct

Instruct: Show them on Mix, or whatever student to administration connection system you use, where to find this information, as well as how they came to owe these funds. Be sure to answer any questions they may have, with confidence! (But remember no acronyms!!)

teach instruct continued
Teach: Instruct Continued
  • Example Continued:

“But Mr. Finn, I have no clue where the summer aid form is… and about how much will these classes cost? I don’t remember if I have any more funds left or not.”

“Not a problem, I can show you right here. We go to, the financial aid homepage, and a link should be right there, see? As for the classes we can look it up in this nifty calculator, and we can also check what avaliable funding you might qualify for.”

teach review
Teach: Review

Review: Go back through the information, more swiftly than before, ask them to repeat back to you an approximate number of the loan amounts they may have.

Be sure to answer any outstanding questions they may have. Questions which remain unanswered are never a good thing, and can tend to stress people, especially a student, out.

teach review continued
Teach: Review Continued
  • Example Continued:

“There now, you have about two-thousand dollars in available federal direct loans, as well as some Pell Grant, the cost per credit is roughly 250 dollars. And remember you need to fill out the request for summer aid form, or you cannot get any aid.” said Mr. Finn

“Right, so I will get that form filled out ASAP, and two-thousand right? And each credit is 250 dollars each?”

“That’s correct”

  •  Repeat
    • Finish your conversation with exiting-pleasantries.  
      • Assure them that what you said will be done, will be done! (Do not make false promises.) 
      • Tell them to keep up with their studies. 
      • Remind them when FAFSAs are due.
      • Give them your Calling/Business Card.
      • Walk them to the door! Shake their hand and bid them adieu.
  • Always be polite and professional.
repeat continued
Repeat Continued

Example Continued:

Mr. Finn, leading Student A out of the office, “Here take my card, and remember to keep those grades up, we could always use more sociologist in this world. Oh and a friendly reminder to get your FAFSA in before April 15th.”

Student A, “Thanks Mr. Finn, I will keep you informed”

“Have a nice day.”