How does financial aid work? There’s a fun question!

According to an article published by CNBC, the vast majority of young students fundamentally don’t understand the core elements of the college financial aid process.

For HigherEd administrators, this is a hugely important reality. But if we’re being honest, should any of us actually surprised by these findings? The reason students and parents have such a difficult time answering the question “how does financial aid work” is actually pretty simple:

— because financial aid is complicated!

Thankfully, animated video is a great way to help university audiences understand the big picture. And since studies show that 73% of consumers worldwide prefer seeing videos that are “entertaining,” over content on a webpage, Motifmotion has the solution ready to go. Without further ado, here are our Top 12 reasons to answer the question, how does financial aid work? for your university community.

1. Unwrap the cost of attendance

Make your institution’s costs transparent by explaining figures around tuition, housing and other fees. Animation is fantastic at visually representing how individual pieces come together to form a clear picture. By de-mystifying the cost of attendance, your viewers will better understand where the final numbers come from.

2. Explain who receives federal student aid at your university

Animated graphics, charts, and figures are a great way to explain who gets federal student aid at your institution. Revealing the percentage of students who use financial aid will reduce intimidation around the process, and will help students understand that they aren’t alone in their journey.

3. Demystify the financial aid process

Guide students and parents through a narrative, helping them understand the steps involved in the financial aid process. By creating a story that they can relate to, students will more easily envision where they fit into the financial aid journey, or the next steps they need to take to get things started.

4. Explain how expected family contribution is calculated

Use demonstrative examples to show how factors such as size of household, family income, assets, and number of family members enrolled in college can impact the expected family contribution.

5. Show How the Fafsa (or the CSS Profile) Works

All financial aid applicants must contend with the Fafsa — a federal requirement — and many must also fill out the CSS profile, instituted by the College Board. While they can sound a bit daunting, these forms are crucial parts of the college financial aid process. By explaining the basics and pointing viewers to useful resources on the web, you will help your students get started.

6. Promote Online Tools

If you’ve got online tools to share – make them front and center! Whether it’s tools and calculators on your own website, or external applications you’d like to send your viewers, your financial aid video is the perfect time to help promote your process and simplify for your viewers.

7. Promote Key Selling Points

Convey unique selling points that distinguish you from competitors, or reiterate points that help reduce intimidation and complexity. Your financial aid video can be primary educational, but you can also artfully work “USPs” (unique selling points) into it to distinguish your institution from the crowd and engage your audience.

8. Explain Scholarships, Grants, Work Study and Loans

Use your financial aid video to highlight internal grants, scholarships and work study opportunities, emphasizing how these can reduce costs and make a student’s academic tenure more affordable.

9. Share State Scholarships or Requirements

Depending on the state, your institution may require additional steps, or offer scholarship opportunities you may want to make viewers aware of. Sharing helpful tips and resources is a fantastic way to engage your audience, reducing the burden associated with the federal student aid process.

10. Brand Your Institution

Leverage your financial video as a way to brand your institution, communicate its status as a top notch educator in the region, within a particular system, or when compared to competitors. Convey authority, clarity and lightheartedness at once.

11. Share Next Steps and Highlight Due Dates

Convey due dates at every stage of the financial aid process, explaining when students should begin thinking about key decisions, and if appropriate, hard deadlines.

12. Create a Call to Action

Leave your audience with an actionable next step. Viewers are much more likely to engage in your desired action if you A) remind them to, and B) provide them with a simple path for getting there.

Conclusion: Top 12 Reasons for a “How Does Financial Aid Work” Video

At the end of the day, there are many reasons to consider creating a How Does Financial Aid Work video for your institution. At the end of the day, it’s all about being clear, transparent and helpful. You can bet your bottom dollar – students and their families will be thankful for it!