Chartwell Agency Offers Colleges Insight on FAFSA Communications

Woman holding phone while cheering for FAFSA Communications

Chartwell Agency, an award-winning marketing firm based in northern Illinois, provided colleges and universities with communications strategies and tactics to assist them through the uncertainty surrounding the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) delays.

“Colleges and universities are stalled in their enrollment process because of the delays with FAFSA, making it impossible to offer financial aid packages that include federal and state aid,” said Rebecca Epperson, Founder & CEO of Chartwell Agency, which has an education marketing division. “While everyone is hopeful that FAFSA information will be provided to institutions soon, preparing immediate and ongoing messaging to admitted students will reap benefits for final enrollment figures.”

By effectively and consistently communicating with students in the admissions pipeline, higher education institutions will be well positioned to secure students when it is possible to present accurate financial aid packages. Chartwell Agency has provided insight to assist colleges and universities dramatically increase their success in meeting admissions goals by coordinating pre- and post-FAFSA communications.

Epperson recommends that organizations communicate now – and consistently – on the status of FAFSA. “Students and their families want to know that you are monitoring the situation so they don’t have to,” she said. “It also provides confidence in your process and keeps you top of mind.”

Communications should:

  • Communicate through the uncertainty – even when there may not be new information to share, this positions your institution as a source for information
  • Provide other ambassadors including the admissions team, financial aid representatives, deans, and coaches with the tools to answer questions
  • Share contact information for questions

Epperson also recommends that higher education admissions departments be ready now with pre-approved communications when FAFSA’s are processed and information is received, enabling quick turnarounds when details are confirmed. She shared, “Planning now allows institutions to be the first among peers to communicate to students and move them through enrollment.” Messaging should be shared internally to align deans, department heads, athletic directors, and others in dispersing the information.

Once created, the Chartwell Agency education marketing team recommends the following for colleges and universities amplify their reach:

  • Distribute the messaging across a variety of tactics including emails, texts, letters, and personal calls
  • Create and direct traffic to a website landing page regularly updated with financial aid information and FAFSA insight
  • Prepare social media posts, graphics, and short-form videos before and after FAFSA information is released
  • Draft a press release and prep for interviews regarding the delay or financial aid process to position your organization as a leader and resource
  • Prepare a digital marketing campaign now to remain top of mind for right-fit students as FAFSA information is released and financial aid packages are presented

Leveraging its expertise in education marketing and storytelling, Chartwell Agency specializes in results-focused, education marketing inclusive of education digital strategies and quick-turn implementation that enhance clients’ visibility, reputation, and engagement with key audiences.