Financial Aid Training and Policy Documentation

Financial Aid – Training Curriculum

Third Coast Higher Education can develop and deliver a customized training curriculum to address regular and special needs of the financial aid and partner offices. Development and improvement of current policies and procedures can be planned as part of the training as well.

Examples of some of our training sessions to be presented to meet the needs of the campus(es):

New Staff Fundamentals – Meet Joe Student

New staff training was created to provide the fundamentals of all aspects of the financial aid process. This interactive series begins with student eligibility and carries a sample student through the FAFSA, verification and disbursement. The series has the ability to be general or customized to include policies and procedures that are specific to your office.

Financial Aid – The A to Z

Even the most experienced financial aid administrator needs can use an annual refresher, especially in areas outside the normal responsibilities. This series is a good opportunity for the financial aid office to learn about the fundamentals, learn about current and upcoming changes and discuss all aspects of financial aid, including opportunities for group conversation about philosophies of the office and policies.

Financial Aid for Finance Staff

The Finance division is very connected to the financial aid process and often shares in the fiduciary responsibilities of but often does not understand how the process works. This training has been specially designed to both give an overview and focus on areas of risk.

The EFC – Understanding the Federal Methodology

The Expected Family Contribution is the core of the financial aid process, but many in financial aid have only a passing understanding of the inner-workings of the methodology. By completing this training, staff will both understand how the EFC is calculated and how the FAFSA data items impact the EFC.

Loans 101

Student loans are a key element to financial aid. This session provides a full summary of the regulations and processes for student and parent loans.

Financial Aid Packaging

There are a variety of philosophies that colleges use to guide financial aid awarding. This collaborative session discusses the options available to schools and approach being used for your students.

Professional Judgment

Special situations are the “science” of financial aid. Understanding the foundation of professional judgment is key to success in any role in financial aid.

Financial Aid – Policy and Procedure Manuals

Creating, updating and evaluating policies and procedures should be among the highest priorities in the financial aid office. Staff members in the financial aid office rely on these documents for training and compliance, as do auditors and program reviewers. Successful processing of financial aid and satisfaction of students is also connected to the operations of the financial aid office.

However, given the important nature of policies and procedures, many financial aid offices are not able to devote the time and resources to adequately document and update the policy and procedure manual of the office. Properly approached, financial aid offices should complete these activities for the policy and procedures manual.

  • Develop – determine the policies that need to be included, locate existing policy and procedures, and nominate which staff and partner offices on campus should be involved
  • Evaluate – create process flows for each activity to be included in the manual and consider if the current process meets the federal regulations and make improvements
  • Write – determine who will write each chapter/section, review and update existing documents, use the process flows to create new documents, create template to organize policies
  • Implement – change processes, communicate changes to the office, institution and students, as appropriate
  • Maintain – determine a schedule for periodic review of each section of the policy and procedure manual and repeat the previous steps.

Procrastination and delays could be costly to the financial aid office. The policy and procures in many financial aid offices are either incomplete or old and badly out of date. Other offices use standard policy manuals that meet the “letter of the law”, but do not actually reflect the policies of the campus and also lack the institutional procedures. The policy manual cannot serve as a training and reference tool for staff and the benefits of evaluation of process are completely missed.