Faculty Advice

How faculty can help mitigate student financial barriers

John C. Watson, President, IUPUI Faculty Council
Associate Professor, Department of Biology

April Update from IFC President John Watson

A presentation by Michele Hansen, assistant vice chancellor for Institutional Research and Decision Support, and Marvin Smith, executive director of Student Financial Services, at an IUPUI Faculty Council meeting earlier this year made a lasting impression on me. They reported on the financial barriers faced by students and the impact financial stress can have on student retention. Their study indicates that unmet financial need plays a prominent role in students not being retained. The trend line was obvious: as unmet financial need goes up, retention rate goes down. I asked them what the IFC could do to help mitigate this problem. Here is what they told me:

  • “Help inform faculty and students about resources such as the Help Me R.O.A.R. site and the Assisting Under-Resourced Students site, which provide information about services on campus and in the community.
  • Encourage faculty to become familiar with the services offered by Student Advocacy and Support.
  • Encourage faculty to seek alternative text or identify ways to keep the cost of textbooks and materials down.
  • Encourage departments to review fees and identify ways to keep down the cost of fees.
  • Publicize any departmental/major specific scholarships and grants that students might be able to apply for.”

I encourage all faculty to join in the effort to reduce the financial burden our students face by following these recommendations.

- Published April 2018