Federal Student Aid and Digital Engagement

By Susan Thares, Digital Engagement Group 

Nearly six years ago, FSA’s Digital Engagement team was formed to look at how best to engage students, parents and borrowers on social media and other digital platforms. In focus groups, students told us, “We aren’t coming to you-you need to come to us and engage us on platforms we use.” Using insights gained from online customer-listening the team identified issues and information gaps that needed to be addressed. Launching FSA’s Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts was the easy part. Keeping the content fresh and relevant is the real challenge. Creating resources and social media content can be time-consuming! So, in addition to serving up engaging content on FSA’s social media sites they’ve also created some easy-to-use social media content and resources for schools and partners to use. Here are some easy to share Facebook and Twitter posts, YouTube videos, infographics and blogs posts. Additionally, they’ve written a number of blog posts that address some of the most common questions they get about the financial aid process. Read our blog posts and subscribe.

It became apparent that students and parents wanted to engage with them. So they started a once-a -month Q&A chat on Twitter called #AskFAFSA Office Hours on the last Wednesday of each month at 5 pm ET. FAFSA Frenzy was the topic for the October #AskFAFSA Office Hours. The topic for November #AskFAFSA Office Hours was “Repaying Student Loans” and the Federal Trade Commission joined as a co-host. The topic for December #AskFAFSA Office Hours will be “Let’s Talk FAFSA”. View transcripts of past #AskFAFSA Office Hours.

Taking it a step further, Federal Student Aid also provides social customer service, answering questions posed on FSA’s social media pages. As a matter of fact, the team was online at midnight on October 1st for the launch of the 2018-19 FAFSA answering questions all throughout the weekend. It’s sometimes a challenge to answer complex financial aid questions in 140 characters or less so they’ve created a variety of images and screenshots to coach customers through the process. In the first five days after FAFSA launched they had answered over 1,200 questions! We encourage you to follow and share any content from our pages. www.facebook.com/federalstudentaid www.twitter.com/fafsa www.youtube.com/federalstudentaid