STUDENT FINANCIAL WELLNESS SURVEY Process FAQ
The Student Financial Wellness Survey (SFWS) seeks to document the financial well-being and student success outcomes of post-secondary students across the nation. This information can be utilized to better serve students, inform campus policies, and improve institutional metrics that may be influenced by issues surveyed in the tool. This 100% free-to-use tool is administered by Trellis Company (formerly TG), who will provide:
- Institutional reports of campus-level findings
- Analysis of campus-level findings by student characteristic and key institutional data points
- Aggregate, surveywide report of findings
- Consultation on survey findings and access to best practices related to institutional success
- How do students view their institution’s awareness of the financial challenges they face? How do students view their institution’s support in addressing the financial challenges they face?
- How do financial barriers alter students’ views about college?
- How does financial capability (knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors) relate to success in college? How do financial stress and financial barriers relate to success in college?
This survey includes questions on student perceptions of their institution, financial challenges, financial stress, student debt, academic goals, attitudes on debt, public assistance usage, paying for college, financial knowledge, food insecurity, housing insecurity, and transportation insecurity.
Yes, a sample survey is available and will be included in a detailed document provided to participating institutions. If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact Kasey Klepfer, Research Analyst and Project Coordinator, at Kasey.Klepfer@trelliscompany.org.
All institutions of higher education are eligible to participate in the SFWS.
No. Campus-level results will be reported in the aggregate with all other SFWS participants but without identifying or referencing any institution by name. A list of institutions participating in the survey will be listed in publicly available reports and presentations, but campus-level results will not be shared publicly. If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact Kasey Klepfer, Research Analyst and Project Coordinator, at Kasey.Klepfer@trelliscompany.org.
Survey findings and analysis will be provided to your institution in a report delivered approximately three months after administration of the survey. Campus-level results will be reported in the aggregate with all other SFWS participants without identifying or referencing any institution by name.
The SFWS will be implemented approximately one month into the Fall semester at participating institutions. In the first year of the survey, Trellis Company (formerly TG) will also offer a Spring semester implementation. It is recommended that institutions administer the SFWS every two years.
- Fall 2017: Beta launch of survey with select institutions, administered on 10/9/2017
- Spring 2018: Survey administered on 2/12/2018
- Fall 2018: Survey administered on 9/18/2018
- Fall 2019: Survey administered on 9/16/2019
Trellis Company requests that institutions submit a letter providing confirmation of institutional participation in the SFWS. This letter should be signed by a senior campus official (e.g., President, Vice President, Dean of Students). A sample of such a letter is available below. If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact Kasey Klepfer, Research Analyst and Project Coordinator, at Kasey.Klepfer@trelliscompany.org.
|SAMPLE LETTER OF INSTITUTIONAL AWARENESS/SUPPORT|
|To whom it may concern,
I am writing to provide confirmation that [College/University] is participating in the Student Financial Wellness Survey, implemented by Trellis Company (formerly TG). I am aware that Trellis intends to conduct research at our institution by administering an online survey to a sample of our students.
As [Title], I grant Trellis permission to conduct research at [College/University], pending all necessary institutional processes and approvals.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact my office at [phone number] or [email address].
Yes, unless prohibitive by school size. Trellis Company is requesting a population sample (all enrolled students) for the survey. Because of the low survey response rates that have been well-documented in social science, Trellis feels that a population sample is needed to provide the most accurate profile of student financial wellness and campus climate at your institution. Institutions with enrollment above 10,000 students may, by request, provide a random sampling of their population. Sample size is determined by following the table below:
|UNDERGRADUATE ENROLLMENT SIZE||SAMPLE SIZE|
|Less than 10,000 students||Population (all students)|
|10,000 – 20,000 students||3,000 students|
|20,000+ students||5,000 students|
You may require approval from your institution’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) prior to administration of the SFWS. Trellis will be obtaining approval from an IRB of record that may satisfy the guidelines set by your IRB, but please contact your IRB to secure approval. Please contact Kasey Klepfer, Research Analyst and Project Coordinator, at Kasey.Klepfer@trelliscompany.org, for support in obtaining all necessary IRB documentation and/or approval.
Note for IRB approval: To encourage response rates and protect student anonymity, Trellis Company will not be providing participating institutions student-level responses from the SFWS. In addition, Trellis will obtain student consent to utilize their education records in analysis of survey responses.
Information collected by the survey will be stored on Trellis’ secure internal servers. Access to the files will be limited only to a small group of employees in our Research and IT departments. A complete detailed Data Security and Destruction Protocol document will be provided to participating institutions.
Providing select education records along with the student sample will allow researchers to:
- Link survey responses to specific student characteristics, enrollment patterns, and academic success metrics: Trellis Company considers the linking of survey responses to student education records to be an important distinguishing component of the SFWS, with the potential to help better understand student behaviors, attitudes, and outcomes.
- Introduce non-self-reported student data into survey analysis: Self-reported data is often problematic. Introducing education records into analysis of survey responses can help determine validity of survey response and provide a less biased look at student behavior.
- Allow for a more comprehensive analysis of student success indicators: Student success indicators from institutional education records often lack context and depth when reported. The questions and findings from the SFWS, when linked to institutional data, can provide this context.
You will provide these data through Trellis’ secured file transfer process, detailed in a process document provided to participating institutions. For assistance, please contact Kasey Klepfer, Research Analyst and Project Coordinator, at Kasey.Klepfer@trelliscompany.org.
You should provide additional incentives to improve the survey response rates on your campus that may facilitate a more accurate representation of your student body. Trellis will provide surveywide incentives across all participating institutions, but encourages institutions to provide campuswide incentives.
Trellis Company has guidelines on incentives available and detailed in a process document provided to participating institutions. In general, suggested incentives include:
- Entering all survey participants in a raffle for a prize.
- Providing food for those who participate in the survey.
- Provide a coupon for free or reduced-price items at a school venue (e.g., cafeteria, market, book store, theater, etc.).
- Trellis can provide consultation on incentive best practices.