Mark Mitchell, Vice President, School Information Services, SSS by NAIS published an interesting piece last week – More Families Receiving Larger Financial Aid Packages to Afford Private School – highlighting results from studies about how families are feeling, and thinking, about their private school financial aid awards and their financial aid processes.
While Mark’s intended audience is the school administration side of the financial aid equation, there are some highlights in the piece that I think some families might also find interesting and beneficial.
Beyond the size of the awards – which will vary from school to school and family to family – I think the most powerful, and noteworthy pieces of Mark’s post, and the gathered data, are the strong perceptions of fairness and honesty in the private school financial aid process.
“Parents reported greater satisfaction with the financial aid they received in 2013 than in 2006. Sixty-six percent of respondents said they were either “very” or “extremely satisfied” with the amount of financial aid they received. In 2006, 57 percent reported those high levels of satisfaction.
In the same vein, parents’ expectations of the aid they might receive are matching up better with what they do receive. In 2013, 69 percent of parents stated that they received about the amount that they expected or more, compared with 61 percent who said so in 2006.
This mirrors improved parent perceptions about the fairness and integrity of the financial aid process during the same time frame. In 2013, 85 percent said the school(s) treated them fairly when considering their family situations, versus 81 percent in 2006. In addition, in 2013, 82 percent of families said they were treated fairly when it came to separating the family’s financial need from the admission decision. This compares with 79 percent in 2006.
Openness, honesty, and transparency are hallmarks of the financial aid process for which schools have been striving as financial aid has become more vital for ever greater numbers of our constituent families.
It’s great to see that, on the school side, we’ve improved the process for families and, on the family side, parents appreciate the financial aid efforts of schools.
“The survey also showed that a workable and predictable outcome in the financial aid process is increasingly vital for families to afford a private school education.”