The Behaviors and Attitudes of Financial Aid and Admission Directors Regarding the Growing Use of Financial Aid Funds for Marketing Purposes
Hlas, Christina M.
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Problem. In order to meet enrollment goals, college and university personnel are increasingly utilizing financial aid in their marketing strategies. As pressure to efficiently allocate limited financial aid funds at colleges and universities has grown, increased use of financial aid in enrollment management strategies has followed. Allocating an institution's limited resources in order to meet enrollment goals is at times in conflict with equal access philosophies. As a result, college and university financial aid professionals are often confronted with the dilemma of using equity based models or efficiency based models for the allocation of limited student aid funds. Procedure. As assessment tool was developed that gathered behavioral and attitudinal information with regards to the "proper" use of administering financial aid. The survey instrument was mailed to a random and proportional stratified sample of financial aid and admission directors at 4-year public and private colleges and universities. Findings/Conclusions. Financial Aid Directors are in agreement with the packaging procedures they employ in order to allocate limited institutional financial aid funds. Also, admission directors are more accepting of awarding financial aid funds on criteria other than need than are financial aid directors. Furthermore, directors at private institutions employ more efficiency-type behaviors when allocating institutional financial aid funds and are more accepting of allocating funds based on criteria other than need than their counterparts at public institutions. Lastly, behaviors and attitudes financial aid and admission directors have toward the "proper" use of financial aid funds differed depending upon to whom the director reports. Recommendations. Future studies should be conducted to 1) include assistant directors and other staff members who through the packaging of funds and their dealings with students and families witness their ideals of access and choice being manipulated, 2) to measure the closing gap between directors at private and public institutions in their behaviors and attitudes regarding the "proper" use of financial aid, and 3) to stratify the sample based on location to look for regional differences.
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