advocacy and legislative issues toolkit
No matter your role within a financial aid office, the primary goal is to assist students in securing funds to enable them to enroll and complete their educational endeavors. For most students, this requires helping them to understand the financial aid process — from completing the FASFA, navigating the verification process, understanding their award letter, completing necessary documents if borrowing, paying their university charges, and managing any refund. It could involve helping them to apply for scholarships and secure a work-study position. And when they complete their education, it involves making sure those who have borrowed have the information to repay any loans.
Besides helping students and their parents understand the often-changing landscape of financial aid, another way to assist students is to advocate for financial aid programs that will assist them while enrolled. Sometimes this advocacy involves internal conversations within the office to determine the most efficient way to award funds. Sometimes it involves educating those in other offices on the requirements to maintain compliance. Other times, meetings with an institution’s administration to advocate for student-friendly policies or additional funds are required. But as everyone who works within the sphere of financial aid is aware, most of the daily work results from laws and regulations enacted at the state and federal level.
No matter which realm your job description fits into, YOU are an advocate for the students you serve at your institution. But how do you do this? Where do you start? What if you don’t consider yourself a political expert? Can you still make a difference? The answer is YES.
The intention of the Advocacy and Legislative Tool Kit is to assist you in getting started. You know the challenges you face in doing your job and you hear the challenges your students express when navigating the financial aid journey. Advocacy is nothing more than sharing the story of how to make things better.
Let’s get started!