My Financial Aid Counselor: ASA Survey Results on High School Counselors and Financial Aid Resources and Time to Assist Students

My Financial Aid Counselor is committed to provide college prospects and their families with the latest information available regarding information and resources on financing  a college education. In this post, My Financial Aid Counselor provides the results of the American Student Assistance (ASA) survey of more than 1,000 high school counselors across the nation.

“While the majority surveyed agreed that their students were concerned about paying for their college education. Less than 20 percent of the counselors felt “extremely comfortable” talking to families about the financial aid process. ” according to ASA results.

The survey provided by ASA has provided findings that show that “while getting into college and being able to pay are likely part of the same thought process for students and families, that conversations about the ability to academically get into college are still separate from conversations a school counselor may have about a student’s ability to pay for college.”

ASA additionally reports, “Despite the considerable investment families are being asked to make in higher education, finding a college that is the right financial fit is not generally seen as a factor equal to academic fit for many high school counselors. While it is true these conversations are going on between some counselors and students, it is not happening universally.”

The ASA questions asked on the survey listed below sought to learn:

1. How high a priority is the ability to pay when helping student choose college?

2. Are counselors aware of their students’ and families’ financial circumstances when making postsecondary recommendations?

3. Are counselors comfortable speaking with students and families about the college financial aid application process?

4. Do counselors have sufficient training to navigate the current landscape of college financing?

5. What was the counselors’ own experience in the college admission and financial aid application processes?

6. Given all the other tasks assigned to school counselors, do they have the time to have these in-depth college planning and financing conversations with every student or is the ratio of counselor to student too high to provide the information in a meaningful way?

ASA Key Findings Results from their survey

Survey results confirmed that school counselors understand and accept their role in advising students on college financing as part of a college planning process but often don’t have the training or support to do so.

  • 88 % agree that financing college is a major concern for their students.
  • 92% say they bear some of the responsibility to discuss college affordability with their students but also believe that family members, college financial aid offices, and teachers play a role.
  • Less than 20 % of counselors say they are extremely comfortable discussing the financial aid application process with students and parents, while over twice that (48 percent) say they are extremely comfortable talking about the college application process.
  • School counselors don’t have a true understanding of how much debt students are taking on to fund their education. Only 17 % of respondents could accurately pick the average amount of student debt students are accumulating.
  • When reflecting on their own experiences applying to college, 66 % said they had to take on student loans to pay for their own education, and 70 % of respondents said that their own high school counselors were not able to guide them through the process of financing college because they weren’t knowledgeable about the topic of financial aid.
  • Counselors do not have the ability to talk in-depth with all students about planning for college because high student-to-counselor ratios limit time spent with each student. Over half (54 %) of the counselors in the study have a ratio of more than 300 students to one counselor at their schools.

My Financial Aid Counselor is committed to providing you the information needed to successfully navigate getting through college and attaining your future career. If you desire more information on this or any subject regarding navigating college and college financing, please contact us.

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