During this college application season, many prospective students and their families are making decisions about their postsecondary education, such as which of the many colleges and universities will best prepare them to achieve their goals. These decisions to pursue a degree, the type of degree, and at which institution, all have a lasting impact on students and their futures.
We have released a new College Scorecard (https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/) to ensure that students and families have the most up to date, reliable information on colleges throughout this process, in an easy-to-use format. For every college, students can learn about how much they’re likely to pay, whether they’re likely to graduate, find good jobs, and pay off their loans.
Over the last seven years, NOVA Financial Aid has undertaken a strategic initiative to enhance financial aid services. The primary goals were to expand access to financial aid services, reduce processing times, and improve customer service. So how have we done?
The amount of financial aid awarded has essentially quadrupled since a process-improvement initiative began in 2009. Students received approximately $100 million more in grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study awards in 2014-2015 compared to 2007-2008. The number of financial aid recipients also increased during this period from 8,777 students (13.6% of the student population) in 2007-2008 to 23,379 students (30.4% of the student population) in 2014-2015.
Customer service surveys are also now sent to all students who visit a Campus Financial Aid Office or contact the Financial Aid and Student Accounts Support Center. Survey data from 2015 shows that approximately 92% of students have a positive perception of the services they received with 63% of survey respondents indicating they received “Excellent Overall Service”. Processing times have also been reduced significantly with the college’s partnership with Financial Aid Services, the entity that provides web-based verification support for financial aid applicants selected to verify the information reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Want to potentially win $100 and learn more about paying for college and managing your finances? Then join us on Wednesday, December 9, 2015 from 6:00pm – 7:00pm in CT230 at the Annandale Campus for the “Financial Literacy: Paying for College” workshop. We’ll discuss ways to finance your education including grants, scholarships, work-study, student loans, and the payment plan.
During the second half of the workshop, participants will be given the chance to create a CashCourse account at www.cashcourse.org and complete the “Be Credit Savvy” module to learn more about credit cards, credit scores, and credit reports. By successfully completing the “Be Credit Savvy” module, students will be entered into NOVA’s CashCourse drawings for $100 grants and $100 bookstore gift cards. Complete CashCourse Contest rules are on NOVA’s Financial Literacy Blog at http://blogs.nvcc.edu/financial-literacy/.
Approximately 13.7% of NOVA students borrowed a student loan in 2014-2015 to help finance their educational expenses according to data compiled by NOVA’s Office of Institutional Research. While this is a relatively low percentage of the student population, the college is committed to encouraging responsible borrowing and reducing the number of students who default on their loans.
By partnering with Inceptia, we have assisted over 1,300 former NOVA students in getting all of their delinquent student loans back into good standing within the last four months. The efforts of the Default Prevention Committee have also helped reduce the college’s Cohort Default Rate (CDR) from 13.6% in FY2011 to 12.0% in FY2012 (the two most recent periods for which data is available). This indicates a reduction in the percentage of NOVA borrowers defaulting on their student loans within three years after entering repayment.
Per federal regulations, students must complete the Master Promissory Note (MPN) and Entrance Counseling at www.studentloans.gov before receiving a Federal Direct Stafford Loan, and they must complete Exit Counseling upon leaving school. Borrowers are also encouraged to use NOVA’s Loan Planning Form to review their loan histories, determine the impact of additional borrowing, and to start planning how they will repay their student loans.