Using Data to Craft & Tell Your Story | Chapter 2: Understand

Chapter 2: Understand your outcomes

Analyze your data for improved future outcomes

We know you’re busy crunching numbers and ensuring timely delivery of awards during your financial aid season. At the year’s end, you’ll move into chapter 2 of your financial aid story, by analyzing all data to understand what happened during the whole financial aid season.

In this way, you can use the data to illuminate the story of your students and the funds awarded. Planning for this chapter pro-actively and the deeper exploration of your data will help you see the potential for new opportunities and for continuously streamlining your financial aid efforts.

Your numbers tell stories. In this chapter of your best practices, you’re looking for a fuller picture of the applicants and families in your financial aid program. You can successfully explore how and if they successfully navigated the financial aid process from year start to year end.

The results of this chapter’s work will help you align and plan for your future financial awards and your budget overall in the coming year. To ensure you can get the best results there are key questions and insights to keep in mind while you’re reviewing the numbers.

These questions include:

  • Can we track how well students made it through the financial aid funnel?
  • What percent of those funded students enrolled in our school?
  • Did funding students at differing percentages of financial aid impact their rate of enrollment?
  • Are there patterns of funding that we need to adjust or shift?

Scrutinizing your data for how you’re meeting a broader socio-economic diversity of students is also valuable. Regularly exploring the income, net worth, and other pieces of your applicant families’ data story can ensure you’re allocating aid dollars to the targets where they are most needed.

And as the saying goes, “Follow the money,” you’ll want to examine if any students did not enroll because there was insufficient aid offered. This will help you determine where you need to shift your budget going forward or practice some “what if” scenarios on how much additional budget might be required to meet your goals.

Drill down your results so you’re able to see and compare applicant family profiles to demographics snapshots of your area including average/median income and average/median family size.

Hint: Pull a report that helps you compare key stats for each student that went to award designation.

Ensure you’re able to compare data to current student enrollment targets and set future targets that can help you increase diversity, expand your geographic reach for future students even down to zip codes, block groups and census tracts.

We’re cheering you and your school on. We know that your goal is to serve every student and meet them where they are financially. We’re here to help you do that. And look for our next chapter soon!

Have you downloaded our full guide for Best Practices for Year End? Get your free copy here.

SSS is a cloud-based, complete financial aid solution that helps schools to keep up with today’s economic realities by collecting the data they need with a time-tested, fair and equitable approach to reach the families who most need help—interested in learning more? Contact us today.

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