FAFSA’s Twitter post offered tips to help students avoid waiting in long lines or getting put on hold by the financial aid office. For instance, the agency advised students to schedule calls and visits in July instead of August. This way, they can get questions answered quickly before the predictable busy period right before the fall term begins.
Not every student will see FAFSA’s post or heed this sound advice, so financial aid offices still need to prepare for peak. FA Solutions, LLC offers some excellent tips to keep financial aid office employees motivated, efficient, and happy, even when the lines wind outside the door and the phones keep ringing.
Five Tips to Help Financial Aid Office Workers Cope With peak
Financial aid offices may never have a way to entirely avoid a rush of students who have urgent financial aid issues right before they need to pay tuition bills and begin courses. They can prepare office staff to ensure employees know what to expect and how to handle the rush of students as efficiently and effectively as possible.
#1: Help Staff Work Efficiently
Each staff member should understand how to prioritize appointments, walk-ins, phone calls, and messages to avoid getting overwhelmed. If employees find specific duties or periods particularly stressful, consider spreading them around to ensure the same individuals don’t always get stuck with the most challenging responsibilities. See if other departments or even third-party solutions
can relieve some of the workload.
#2: Recognize Employee Efforts
Even if some students don’t always express their gratitude, the department should always find ways to let employees know how much they’re valued. The best way to offer thanks may depend upon the worker’s personality and could include a quiet compliment, a public shout-out, or a thoughtful card.
#3: Ensure a Positive Work Environment
Bosses can also express appreciation by making the office as pleasant and supportive as possible. Employees appreciate extra perks such as water bottles, light snacks, and upbeat music. Some offices, as budgets allow order employee lunches during peak times to help save the employee time and money.
#4: Make Sure Employees Can Enjoy Relaxing Breaks
Employees need a quiet retreat to enjoy their breaks and lunch periods. Offer resources and support for relaxation, meditation, exercise, and mental health. For instance, place a couple of tablet computers loaded with simple games or meditation apps in the break room.
#5: Let Workers Dress Comfortably
If your office requires more professional attire, consider offering the employee a comfortable option. Many colleges allow for a school branded shirt and the employee’s choice of comfortable bottoms, like jeans.
Seek the Best Financial Aid Partners
A financial aid office assumes lots of responsibility to ensure students have a positive experience and can obtain the vital assistance they need. For example, the financial aid department’s effectiveness can have an immense impact on enrollment numbers. In turn, that major responsibility can generate overwhelming pressure during busy times of the year, especially right before new semesters begin.
On the positive side, a trusted, reliable partner will relieve workloads with efficient processing solutions, consulting, and even outsourced staffing. Contact us here at FA Solutions today to tell us about your challenges, and we’ll happily explain how we’ve assisted other schools and will help yours too!
By Bridget McGuire