(De)Glossing Financial Aid
Decades of research has suggested that completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) can be a complex, difficult process for postsecondary students and their support networks. However, no extant research has informed federal student aid practitioners and researchers as to what federal student aid jargon terms institutions of higher education actually use in their application instructions to complete the FAFSA. To fill this gap in the research, this study adopts a distributional linguistic approach to analyze a random sample of federal student aid application instructions published on institutional websites (.edu) over three years (2017, 2018, and 2019) to learn how prevalent Federal Student Aid (FSA) Glossary terms are and what terms are used most frequently. Results suggest few of the 152 FSA Glossary terms have been regularly used by institutions of higher education from 2017 to 2019, with the most frequent terms being FAFSA, loan, federal student aid, FSA ID, and scholarship. In addition, many institutions only used one or two FSA Glossary terms over three years, bringing into question the accuracy and relevance of the FSA Glossary. Implications for research, financial aid administration, and financial aid policy are addressed.
Taylor, Zachary W. and Manor, Laura
"(De)Glossing Financial Aid: Do Colleges and Universities Actually Use Financial Student Aid Jargon?,"
Journal of Student Financial Aid: Vol. 50
, Article 5.
Available at: https://ir.library.louisville.edu/jsfa/vol50/iss2/5