Financial Aid Trends in Higher Education

The role of colleges and universities in developing and educating the next generation continues to change, and the process of paying for an education is also evolving, politics and general notions of value versus reward. The online Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration with a concentration in Leadership Studies program from William Paterson University (WP) prepares educators for roles of greater responsibility within the field of higher education.

This career program gives students an in-depth study of the structure, history, administration and organization of colleges and universities worldwide. This program helps graduates understand how higher education systems work for stakeholders and to recognize financial barriers that prevent students from attaining higher education opportunities.

Financial Aid Trends and Options Available to Students

The federal student financial aid process has never been hassle-free. Student loans, scholarships, federal aid and grants are the most common ways for students to afford higher education. With rising tuition costs and the changing demographics of higher education students, the field is changing.

College and university tuition fees are getting more expensive. The Trends in College Pricing and Student Aid for 2021 reported that inequality in family income increased over the last 30 years while the cost of tuition has steadily risen. With the global pandemic, data shows a troubling decline in the number of college students who resubmitted their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The numbers show that students from low-income backgrounds and minority students are the most at-risk for discontinuing their educations.

With an overall drop in enrollment and tuition costs steadily rising, how can colleges and universities assist in the lending process? Here are a few ideas:

  • Automate financial aid and admissions. For many colleges and universities, an automated financial aid process can free up time so administrators can focus on applications that need more individual attention. Schools can use this unique time to reinvent their application process and streamline financial aid procedures.
  • Simplify the admissions and financial aid system. Unifying the application process and the financial aid system would provide a more student-centric undertaking. If students’ class decisions, advising processes and financial aid processes were all connected, they could understand the interconnected nature of their path to higher education and success. Financial aid officers should connect prospective students to the admissions process rather than operating as a completely separate step somewhere down the line.
  • Be more transparent. Applying for financial aid is confusing and frustrating. As students fill out and submit forms, they are in the dark about possible revisions or their status in the decision-making process. By providing more transparency, schools can be more proactive with students and their families. Financial aid officers who can spend time on students who need the most assistance can provide relief to a confusing process and help students follow their goals through higher education.

What’s Next

Graduates of WP’s online M.A. in Higher Education Administration with a concentration in Leadership Studies program will know how to evaluate trends in higher education that impact a student’s academic, social and holistic experiences while applying knowledge about leadership, law, history, finance, theory and policy regarding organizational improvement.

Learn more about William Paterson University’s online Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration with a concentration in Leadership Studies program.

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