As we support our school partners in wrapping up the first financial aid season with Clarity, we’ve been thrilled to receive an overwhelmingly positive response about the school and family experience. It is our commitment to our school partners (current and future) to continuously evolve our product to ensure our schools have the tools to access, track, and understand real-time tuition and financial aid metrics.
If you have questions, you are not alone! Here are some Frequently Asked Questions we received from schools like yours and responses from the Clarity Team.
How does the Clarity formula align with my current system? What if my suggested tuition amounts (aka EFCs or HCEs) will be different from what I’m used to?
Clarity’s Policy Simulator is unique among financial aid platforms because it allows you to import your historical data from your legacy system, and then adjust your Clarity formula to get the results you want. Your Client Success Manager will walk you through how to set up a policy that calculates suggested tuition (our term for EFC or HCE) amounts that make sense for your families and your school’s budget, based on your goals.
Whether you want to match your legacy system’s numbers or set up a methodology that more closely aligns with your actual awarding, you can customize Clarity to achieve the results you want. Schools love that they can set up different asset weights and expense caps in Clarity that reflect their school’s priorities and financial aid philosophy, instead of having to make adjustments to reflect those priorities after the calculation is done.
We have a small team handling Financial Aid and we’ve developed a process that works for us. How does the Clarity platform streamline the Financial Aid process?
We know many who work on financial aid also juggle other admissions, administrative, and campus life responsibilities! We understand that you need to create as many efficiencies in the Financial Aid process as possible, and Clarity has several features that will reduce your file review time.
First and foremost, the data that populates each application comes directly from the IRS, and is verified by Clarity and mapped into the family’s application. This means Financial Aid administrators no longer need to:
a.) remind families to upload documents
b.) decipher tax documents that have been uploaded incorrectly or unclearly
c.) look for hidden income line-by-line in 1040s and schedules
Some other helpful features in the Clarity platform:
- Detailed Overview: an at-a-glance view of family demographics, income, assets, debts, liabilities, and notes provided by the family in the application.
- Standard Tuition Breakdown: shows verified data for each family, calculates expenses based on school set “caps” or “allowances,” and allows for individual file revisions as needed.
- Historical Comparison: schools choose to transfer up to 3 years of historical data into Clarity and compare income, assets, and tuition contribution amounts year over year.
- Documents: schools can customize document requests and reminders (set it and forget it!) for families that fit certain criteria. You no longer have to wait until the file is in the review process to identify additional documents you may need or want from a family.
- File Notes: if you are reviewing files asynchronously with your financial aid committee, Clarity gives schools the ability to track notes and school revisions for other members to consider.
- File Statuses: files can be marked as “in review,” “award proposed” and “award finalized” to allow for easy financial aid process management.
Our school uses prior year data to assess awards. Can we use prior data in Clarity?
Yes! Schools can view multiple years of data in an easy-to-decipher table as they review files. Clarity defaults to calculating suggested tuition based on prior-prior year data directly from the IRS, but families enter prior/current data on their Clarity application, and schools can choose to replace prior-prior verified data with family entered data, and recalculate the STB accordingly. Families are asked to provide projected income if they believe those numbers will vary by more than 10% in the coming year.
What does Clarity’s school support and family support look like?
Everyone on Clarity’s Client Success team has spent years working in admission and financial aid, just like you, and we are passionate about making the financial aid process easier for families and simpler for schools. We guide you through the initial onboarding process, and continually check in with you to be sure the platform is working the way you want it to. We offer advice and guidance on best practices as you review files and work with families. We send weekly updates letting you know about the latest enhancements to the platform, and offer training sessions when new features are released, to be sure you have the tools you need to take full advantage of Clarity.
For families, we think we’ve got the best team in the business! So far the family support team has responded to over 5,000 parent support inquiries with an average response time of under 10 minutes. Families can reach our support team through the in-app chat anytime, or by phone or email if they prefer. They are available 8am-8pm EST and on weekends during the height of the admissions financial aid season. We offer support in English and Spanish, and our application is fully translated into Spanish as well.