University of Toledo Creates a Unicorn: Easy-to-Read Financial Aid Pages with a 5-Step FAFSA Guide & Simplified Net Price Calculator
Finding a series of financial aid pages in higher education that a normal human being can follow with ease is like finding a unicorn in a forest. Might exist. Difficult to locate. University of Toledo has one in hand.
The easy-to-follow language even includes something I’ve honestly never seen before… financial aid is “paid” to a student’s account rather than “disbursed.” OK, they do use both. But this is a most unusual sign that Toledo wants to minimize jargon whenever possible. “Your financial aid is paid — or disbursed — to your student account at the beginning of each semester.”
6 special points to note…
- The language overall is written so that normal human beings will have little problem understanding it.
- Great use of the “you” word to speak directly to an individual on the site. The “students will do…” this and that is absent.
- Watch the student video… where viewers are told at least 3 times that completing the FAFSA is “stressful.” For parents as well as for students. Have you ever visited a financial aid site that admitted the FAFSA was “stressful” before?
- A “Step-by-Step FAFSA Guide” walks people through the process in 5 steps. Much better than just giving people new to the FAFSA a link to the official FAFSA site and leaving them to it.
- Content presentation easily passes the “don’t make me squint” test, including nice white space between important paragraphs.
- Toledo has also created an easy Net Price Calculator that is much faster to complete than the College Board version and similar FAFSA-type forms that exist on most university sites.
Speed on mobile…
Google PageSpeed Insights measures time to first view on a mobile phone as 3.8 seconds (OK, but not great) and time to full interactivity as 22.6 seconds. Primary challenge here is image size.
On the FAFSA guide page visitors had best use a laptop or desktop computer. Full mobile interactivity there is 47 seconds. That falls to 8.9 seconds on desktop. As is most often the case, the primary recommendation here is to reduce java script use.
Thanks for the recommendation…
Thanks to Cherie Spino, digital content manager at University of Toledo, for alerting me to these pages.
Follow the Link of the Week
Start your unicorn experience at an admirably written and presented site designed to make the financial aid process as easy as possible when you visit “Financial Aid How to Pay for College.”
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