Often student services staff are unaware of processing rules and regulations of other departments. When departments such as Financial Aid have to operate within highly regulated compliance requirements, such basic knowledge would prove helpful in their meetings with students. For example, when students are in danger of losing aid eligibility due to not meeting academic progress, knowledge of what requirements need to be met and how those requirements affect credit load would be helpful during student advisement. Being more aware of the various Financial Aid effects would improve morale, and help to increase student enrollment and retention.
This study involved 11 students who were recruited via email with an attached invitation, along with face to face recruitment. Participants were invited to the Canvas platform which housed the learning unit. A pre and post test were included along with a post unit survey, in order to gauge learning effectiveness and satisfaction. The following research questions were directly addressed in the post-unit survey: (1) How effective was the training module in increasing subjects’ knowledge of Financial Aid? (2) How comfortable are Student Services staff with discussing Financial Aid topics with their students after completing the training module? Most students showed improved post-test scores as well as favorable scoring on the survey. The study showed that implementing a cross-departmental training tool can be effective and it is recommended that institutions incorporate a similar process in order to ensure cross-departmental training, even at a basic level, in an effort to increase student satisfaction, morale, and retention.