When Winsor made the decision to move to Clarity this summer, it was not without a few sleepless nights. Few peer schools in our area made the change and we wondered, of course, would we lose families in our process who would not want to fill out two financial aid applications? We understood all the ways we would benefit as a department from making the change, but the impact on families remained a question mark.

Recently Winsor participated in a financial aid workshop for families in a local access program where the goal was to get them to the submission of their financial aid applications by the end of the session. The families had varying levels of comfort on computers and most had no experience completing a financial aid application, but we had plenty of support for them circulating to get them to the finish line.

Within the room we had families that needed to complete up to three different financial aid applications, and the experience getting the families through each one was stark. Families working on the Clarity application were almost entirely independent. They breezed through account set up, added their participating schools, completed the asset and expenses questions and then hit submit (where they delighted in the Clarity confetti screen). We fielded just one question from the families working on the Clarity application, and have already passed that feedback onto the great Clarity customer support team so that we can ensure families can complete the application with 100% independence.

In the time that many families created and submitted their Clarity applications, families working with the other financial aid platforms were still struggling to create accounts and add schools to their school list. Once they got to the forms, even those of us ‘experts’ circulating the room were stumped on certain questions, as we tried to transcribe values from the 1040 into the application.

Two hours into the workshop, a father I was advising on a different application form became so frustrated he began to question if he even should be applying to independent schools. He finally asked if I could just sit and work with him one on one. Even working as a team, it took us another 45 minutes to get to the finish line.

Two hours and 45 minutes was his total time to complete and submit the financial aid application form when, even at face value, it was clear to me that his family would qualify for full financial aid. Two hours and 45 minutes is a barrier we should not be asking families to surmount when we now have a better solution.

What impact will Clarity have on families? For me, there is no longer a question mark. Clarity means families can independently complete their applications in a reasonable amount of time. Clarity means families will have an experience that empowers them and preserves their dignity. Clarity means living our values and reducing or eliminating the barriers to admission wherever we can.

Bring Clarity to your Financial Aid

The financial aid platform purpose built to remove enrollment barriers for today's families.