Journal of Student Financial Aid

Journal of Student Financial Aid



Philosophy of Journal of Student Financial Aid

For more information, please see Journal of Student Financial Aid Aims and Scope page.

Who Can Submit?

Anyone may submit an original article to be considered for publication in Journal of Student Financial Aid, provided he or she owns the copyright to the work being submitted or is authorized by the copyright owner(s) to submit the article. Authors are the initial owners of the copyrights to their works (an exception to this might exist in the non-academic world if the authors have, as a condition of employment, agreed to transfer copyright to their employer).

General Submission Rules

Submitted articles cannot have been previously published, nor be forthcoming in an archival journal or book (print or electronic). Please note: "publication" in a working-paper series does not constitute prior publication. However, articles published as working papers prior to submission must be acknowledged as part of the submission. In addition, by submitting material to Journal of Student Financial Aid, the author is stipulating that the material is not currently under review at another journal (electronic or print) and that he or she will not submit the material to another journal (electronic or print) until the completion of the editorial decision process at Journal of Student Financial Aid. Authors may not submit more than four manuscripts for consideration in a 12 month period. If you have concerns about the submission terms for Journal of Student Financial Aid, please contact the editors.

Authors should present their material in clear and concise language appropriate for the general reader as well as financial aid administrators. The presentation and development of the article should be orderly, avoiding irrelevancies and wordiness. Whenever possible, authors should avoid the use of passive voice. Generally, articles are structured into segments with headings that suggest the logical progression from introduction to conclusion. Headings reflect the manuscript’s organization and denote the relative importance of each topic.

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Content Guidelines

The Journal of Student Financial Aid (JSFA) publishes research articles, issue articles, research briefs, and book reviews. All submissions, regardless of type must conclude with a section titled 'Implications for Practice.' In this section, the author is asked to distill the body of work into practical, concise, and specific recommendations for practicing financial aid administrators. This is essential to the mission of the Journal.

Research Articles (not to exceed 15,000 words or about 40 pages generally excluding tables, figures, and references)
A research article should begin with an introductory statement of purpose, which does not have a heading. It should proceed with a discussion of recent and related research, followed by a presentation of the methodology. The author should then present an analysis of the evidence, followed by conclusions and implications directly related to the evidence.

Issue Articles (not to exceed 5,000 words or about 15 pages generally excluding tables, figures, and references)
An issue article should address a position or a perspective on a student aid policy or topic. The headings should reflect the organization of the article. The author presents the issue in the introduction, which is not headed. Unlike the components of a research article, the sections of an issue article should be arranged by relationship. The sections should display the perspectives of others, the evidence and logical argument, and positive and negative implications. The conclusion should suggest next steps or otherwise finalize what has been introduced and argued earlier.

Research Briefs (not to exceed 2,500 words or about 10 pages generally, excluding tables, figures, and references)
A brief is intended to share findings from scholarly analysis in a succinct format. A brief should contain no more than 2,500 words with an abstract of no more than 100 words, up to 30 references, and up to four total figures or tables. The topics should align with the mission and content of the Journal and the same standards of rigor are applied in the review process. A brief typically focuses on methods and findings with a much shorter introduction, literature review, and conclusion sections than research articles. We do not require a nexus for practice in a brief. A brief may include but is not limited to: a brief empirical analysis paper; a replication study; or a research project in progress.

Reflections in Practice Briefs (not to exceed 2,500 words or about 10 pages generally, excluding tables, figures, and references)
This brief is intended to provide insight into current and emerging practices experienced first-hand by practitioners in the field of higher education finance in a succinct format. It should provide scholars and practitioners alike with relevant and current information – bridging a gap between research and practice. A brief should contain no more than 2,500 words with an abstract of no more than 100 words, up to 30 references, and up to four total figures or tables. The topics should align with the mission and content of the Journal and the same standards of rigor are applied in the review process. A brief typically includes an introduction, intervention strategies, assessment strategies, and recommendations. A brief may include but is not limited to: personal accounts of change, personal narratives, recommended content reports, recommended practice reports, research-based summaries of best practices, evidence-based practices, research-based approaches, and descriptive case studies (Weimer, 2006).

Book Reviews (not to exceed 1,500 words or about 5 pages generally)
Scholarly book reviews on related topics critically examine the purpose, thesis, contentions, and methods of analysis; they do not just summarize the book’s contents. Written in 1,500 words or less, book reviews evaluate the author’s presentation of ideas while providing commentary on the book’s contribution to the understanding of student aid and access. Strong book reviews present a discussion of the main ideas, types of sources and methods used, compelling points or shortcomings, and how the book adds or changes current knowledge or discussions on student aid and access.

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Formatting Guidelines


Questions of style should be referred to the 6th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA). Although APA style has been historically oriented toward research, the APA stresses the adaptability of the style to more theoretical manuscripts. Manuscripts must adhere to APA style.

All text, including indented material and references, should be double-spaced and generally no longer than the guidelines referenced above (including tables, figures, and references). The title of the article should appear at the top of the first page of text.

Footnotes are generally avoided because they distract the reader. Reference citations are never footnoted, but are included in a reference list. Whenever possible, information germane to an article should be integrated within the text. Necessary supporting documentation may be included as an appendix. Table notes, author identification notes, and copyright permission footnotes are acceptable and are addressed in the APA Publication Manual.

Statistics, Charts, and Graphs
All tables, charts, and graphs should be included at the end of the article and place holders for the location of those tables, charts, and graphs should be indicated in the paper (i.e., “Insert Table 1 here”).  In addition, values that are used to create tables, graphs, and charts must be submitted in an Excel file.  Figures and tables must be clear, comprehensible, and used only when they add to the presentation or when they reduce the need for a lengthy discussion in the manuscript. Particularly complex research (including statistical terminology) should be explained in an understandable way for readers not fully acquainted with research methodology and analysis.

All references cited in the text must follow APA format and should be listed alphabetically by author in a reference list at the end of the article. Since this list must allow the reader to locate the works cited, the reference data must be correct and contain all of the details necessary for identification and library research. Reference materials not readily available to readers (unpublished works, papers presented at meetings, work in progress) should be cited only when they are essential to the article. They must be included in the reference list. As much information as possible should be noted, following the APA style, including: author, title, date, address from which material may be obtained, and whatever information is necessary to explain the source (for example, “Paper presented at the...”).

For additional details on submission steps, acknowledging sources, typesetting and layout requirements pertaining to final manuscript submission, please review How to Submit.

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Review Process

Because the Editorial Board has a masked review policy, the author’s name should not appear on any page of the text. Authors should submit the title of the manuscript, their name or names, institutional affiliation, e-mail address, and abstract via the electronic submission system. Authors are also asked to submit a 150-200 word informative abstract that provides readers with the main arguments and important results of the work. In addition, four keywords must be provided.

Manuscripts will be acknowledged and then undergo desk review by the editorial staff to determine appropriateness for the journal. Authors will receive notification of the outcome of this initial review within two weeks. If the article moves to the next step, the manuscript will then be referred to the Editorial Board for review. When the Editorial Board completes its review, authors will be notified that their respective manuscripts have been accepted as submitted, accepted pending minor revisions, accepted pending major revisions, or rejected. The editor retains the option to obtain final author approval for manuscripts that have been significantly altered in the editorial process. Articles will be reviewed for substance and presentation. The Editorial Board will consider the relevance of the article to current needs in the field; the significance of the idea or usefulness of the information; the appropriateness of any research method and/or logic of presentation; as well as clarity, syntax, and style, although these are the responsibilities of the author.

It is the general policy of the Editorial Board to accept articles not previously published elsewhere or not currently under consideration for publication elsewhere. Authors submitting a manuscript do so with the understanding that, if it is accepted for publication, copyright of the article will be assigned exclusively to the Journal of Student Financial Aid. The Board will not refuse any reasonable request by the author for permission to reproduce any part of it. The author alone is responsible for quotations from copyrighted materials.

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How to Submit

Final Manuscript Preparation Guidelines for Journal of Student Financial Aid.

This document provides details on typesetting and layout requirements pertaining to final manuscript submission to Journal of Student Financial Aid.

Formatting Requirements

  • Do not include a title page, abstract, or author biography in your manuscript. (Begin the document with the introduction; your abstract, author biography, title header and other metadata will be added to your paper by the editors.)
  • If you have images or figures accompanying your manuscript, you must submit high-resolution files (300 dpi or greater). Figures should be submitted under “Supplemental Materials” as separate files and must be clearly called out in the text so that editors know where to place the image. Please include full titles or captions for all images and figures. You must submit permission to reprint any images or figures previously published elsewhere and provide full citation of the source in your manuscript.
  • Page size should be 8.5 x 11-inches; all margins (left, right, top and bottom) should be 1 inch (3.8 cm), including your tables and figures.
  • Text should be 12 points in Times New Roman or another commonly available font, such as Arial.
  • Double space your text.
  • A copy editor will be assigned to your manuscript; however, manuscripts that are submitted with significant grammar, spelling, style, or typographical errors will be sent back to the author for revision before being sent to an editor.
  • Copyedit your manuscript.
  • When possible, there should be no pages where more than a quarter of the page is empty space.
  • All submissions must be in English.
  • Authors should use proper, standard English grammar. The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White (now in its fourth edition) is the "standard" guide, but other excellent guides (e.g., The Chicago Manual of Style, University of Chicago Press) exist as well.
  • Set the font color to black for the text. We encourage authors to take advantage of the ability to use color in the production of figures, maps, etc., however, you need to appreciate that this will cause some of your readers problems when they print the document on a black & white printer. For this reason, you are advised to avoid the use of colors in situations where their translation to black and white would render the material illegible or incomprehensible.
  • All tables and appendices should be included at the end of the manuscript, one per page. On the same page, you should include titles and captions as appropriate. All tables must be referenced somewhere in the main body of your paper (i.e., “See Table 1.”) and the location for where to insert the table should be clearly indicated.

Protecting Confidentiality of Research Participants
Authors should take care to protect the identity of research participants by either obtaining written consent from the subject to identify them, or by disguising the identity in some way (such as changing characteristics such as names, limiting description, or using composites).

Crediting Sources and Building Your Reference List
Authors must cite the work of those individuals whose ideas, theories, or research have directly influenced your work, and must provide documentation for all facts and figures that are not common knowledge. It is also the author's obligation to provide complete references with the necessary information. Please follow the guidelines for citing and referencing works as described in the APA Manual of Style (6th Edition). Please carefully check your manuscript to ensure that all works cited in the main body of your text are included in the reference list, and that all items in the reference list are cited in the main body of your manuscript. This includes tables, graphs, images, figures, and appendices. Place your reference list after the last sentence of your manuscript (insert a line break—not a page break—and begin your references on the same page, if possible).

Student Work
Definition: Student work is defined as any work initiated and/or completed as part of any college or university’s degree requirements, and includes theses, dissertations, class-related projects/papers, and encompasses but is not limited to case studies, empirical studies, theoretical overviews, and comprehensive literature reviews. Only completed empirical studies (quantitative or qualitative) or integrated comprehensive literature reviews will be accepted for review.

Authorship: Any work completed as a student must include as co-authors all individuals who have made a substantial contribution to the manuscript. At a minimum, co-authors will include your thesis/dissertation chair, major professor, and/or faculty member associated with course-related projects.

Please refer to the APA publication manual guidelines on pp. 18-19 regarding determining authorship and order of authorship.
Acknowledgement: As per the APA Publication Manual, p. 25, student work must be acknowledged as such in an author note on the title page and include the institution and major professor associated with the work. An example of such an author note is as follows: This manuscript was completed in partial fulfillment of the Ph.D. requirements in Industrial/Organizational Psychology at the University of Albany, SUNY, under the direction of Kevin Williams, Ph.D.

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Submission Steps & Materials

Follow the instructions below to submit a manuscript to the Journal of Student Financial Aid. Shortly afterward, you will receive an email confirming your submission.

Prepare your submission by going to the Submit Article tool, which details the four-step process:

  1. Read and accept the Article Submission Agreement
  2. Provide information about yourself
  3. Provide information about any authors
  4. Upload your article and related items

Submissions must include the following: 

  • A cover letter (see below)
  • Keywords (4)
  • The manuscript that does not contain a title page, abstract, or author biography, in Microsoft Word (.doc or docx) format.

Cover letter: All cover letters must include the following information

  • Title of manuscript
  • Type of article (i.e., full-length empirical article, etc.) 
  • Abstract (200 words or fewer)
  • Word count of manuscript

File Naming for Submissions: 

  • Cover letter: coverletter.doc (or .docx)
  • Article Submission: First initial and last name of first author (only) followed by the date: Example: jgross_2-1-13.doc

Subsequent submissions (these refer to invited submissions based on a previous editorial review) 
Subsequent revisions must include the following: 

  • A cover letter, including title of manuscript, type of article (i.e., full-length empirical article, etc.) , abstract of 200 words or fewer, if updated, and word count of manuscript.
  • Article manuscript with no author(s) identification
  • Detailed response to reviewers. A separate file (Word file preferred) is required that provides a detailed (point by point) response to all of the reviewers’ comments.  This response should be submitted through  the “Manage Additional Files” tool.

File Naming for Subsequent Revision: 
Manuscript number followed by R1 (if first revision; R2 if second revision). The manuscript number can be found in the email confirmation of your submission, or in your online JSFA account.
Example: 1064R1.doc

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