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COLLEGE ADMISSION PROFESSIONALS

College admission professionals play an important role in providing information about financial aid. More than three-quarters (79 percent) of secondary school survey respondents reported that local colleges and universities are their most common source of financial aid information and training.

Students and families also rely on the admission counselors they encounter during the college search and application process for important information about financial aid and college costs. Admission counselors frequently receive questions about college costs and financial aid.

Percentage of Admission Counselors Who Reported Frequently Receiving Each Question from Students and Families

Questions

Percent Who Are Frequently Asked

How do I apply for financial aid?

59.7

Will I get a merit scholarship from your institution?

80.9

How much will it cost to attend your institution?

86.2

When will I know how much financial aid I’ve received?

69.1

How much institutional aid can I expect?

56.6

Should I take out loans to pay for college?

19.1

What happens to my loans if I don’t graduate?

3.4

What happens if I cannot repay my loans?

4.4

How much can I afford to borrow?

7.3

 

Knowledge of Financial Aid Topics

For many topics, a much smaller proportion of admission counselors with 1-5 years of experience reported being well-versed, in comparison to all admission counselors. These early career professionals are often the staff members who interact most directly with students at recruiting events, including high school visits and college fairs.

Percentage of Admission Counselors Who Reported They are Well-Versed in Specific Financial Aid Topics

Topic

Percent Well-Versed

All Admission

Counselors

1 – 5 Years of Experience

Criteria for institutional scholarships

74.0

39.5

Need-based aid versus merit-based aid

84.7

41.6

Net price (vs sticker price)

64.0

37.6

FAFSA application process and deadlines

44.4

34.0

In-state/out-of-state tuition

72.3

40.3

Financial aid award letter

47.9

38.3

Using the net price calculator

40.7

36.2

Process for financial aid packaging

31.6

36.0

Types of federal loans

37.6

39.4

CSS Profile process and deadlines

10.5

28.3

Private loans

13.2

36.8

Loan repayment options, including income-based repayment

20.0

44.1

 

In a similar pattern to specific topic knowledge, college admission counselors with fewer years of work experience were much less likely to report being very prepared to answer specific questions from students and families related to college costs and financial aid. 

Percentage of Admission Counselors Who Report Being Very Prepared to Answer Specific Questions from Students and Families about Paying for College

Questions

Percent Very Prepared

All Admission

Counselors

1 – 5 Years of Experience

How do I apply for financial aid?

88.4

41.2

Will I get a merit scholarship from your institution?

88.2

43.0

How much will it cost to attend your institution?

87.9

43.2

When will I know how much financial aid I’ve received?

81.3

41.4

How much institutional aid can I expect?

47.9

43.9

Should I take out loans to pay for college?

35.7

35.5

What happens to my loans if I don’t graduate?

22.3

30.7

What happens if I cannot repay my loans?

22.3

30.7

How much can I afford to borrow?

17.5

37.3

 

Admission counselors benefit when their institutions provide formal training in financial aid, and particularly if the training is ongoing.

Effects of Training on College Admission Counselors Knowledge of Specific Financial Aid Topics

Topics

Percent Well-Versed

Training Provided

No Training

Ongoing Training Provided

No Ongoing Training

FAFSA process

49.3

38.2

56.3

33.0

Net price (vs sticker price)

69.6

56.9

73.6

60.2

Need-based and merit-based aid

88.0

80.9

90.8

81.6

Net price calculator

45.6

34.4

51.0

33.0

Federal loans

41.3

32.8

46.2

30.1

Private loans

13.2

13.2

15.1

8.7

Criteria for institutional scholarships

80.6

65.6

83.1

74.8

Process of financial aid packaging

38.0

23.2

44.8

22.3

Financial aid award letter

54.5

39.2

62.6

35.9

Loan repayment options

21.6

17.9

24.3

15.5

In-state/out-of-state tuition

74.6

69.4

76.9

69.0

 

Admission counselors who were offered training also reported being more prepared to answer all of the student/family questions included on the survey.

Effects of Training on College Admission Counselors Preparation to Answer Specific Financial Aid Questions from Students and Families

 

Percent Very Prepared

Questions

Training Provided

No Training

Ongoing Training Provided

No Ongoing Training

How much will it cost to attend your institution?

89.7

85.8

93.7

80.6

How do I apply for financial aid?

91.8

83.7

94.5

85.4

How much institutional aid can I expect?

87.6

72.4

57.8

40.8

Will I get a merit scholarship from your institution?

52.6

41.2

93.7

88.3

When will I know how much financial aid I’ve received?

87.6

72.4

90.3

81.6

Should I take out loans to pay for college?

39.8

30.2

44.9

28.2

How much can I afford to borrow?

21.2

12.6

23.6

15.5

What happens if I cannot repay my loans?

20.9

15.6

22.8

16.5

What happens to my loans if I don’t graduate?

25.0

18.8

26.6

21.4

 

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