Students vs. Legalese

At some point in my checkered past, I worked in a financial aid office. Most of my colleagues had backgrounds in business, finance, or accounting. I’m from the social science/humanities side. We spoke very different languages.

Perhaps coincidentally, I ended up being the primary point of contact for a lot of the students who wanted financial aid help. And even today, after I left that world behind, students (and staff) seek me out to explain things. Why don’t they go to the actual financial aid specialists? “They’re not helpful.” “I tried but they were rude to me.” “Every time I asked a question, they kept repeating the same confusing thing.” “They treated me like I was stupid.”

So I was very interested in this Chronicle article about a financial aid office that’s actually trying to communicate in a way that students can easily understand.

And then I was annoyed by some of the comments from uptight FA administrators who clearly don’t care about students’ experiences.


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