Uncover the specific financial wellness issues that are making it more difficult for your students to reach their educational potential.

Participating in This Comprehensive Survey is Free for Schools




    1. SFWS Process to Participate
      This short document outlines the steps institutions will take to participate in the survey: IRB review or waiver, providing requested data, and student communication and promotion.

    2. SFWS Promotional Information Sheet
      This resource highlights important information about Trellis’ survey, such as the deliverables institutions will receive and Trellis’ data security, as well as ways institutions have used the data to promote student success.

    3. SFWS Testimonials Brochure
      Read testimonials from participating schools about their experience with the survey process and how the information has benefited the institution and its students.

    4. SFWS Frequently Asked Questions
      This document addresses common questions and provides informative answers about the survey.

    It is important to check with your institution’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) to determine if a full review is necessary. Oftentimes an IRB will waive or expedite review due to the low-risk nature of the project, but some IRBs may want to review the study before approving on campus. Your Trellis contact will work with you to provide all materials necessary for IRB review and to obtain all necessary IRB documentation of waived review and/or approval.

    Note for IRB approval: To encourage response rates and protect student anonymity, Trellis will not provide participating institutions student-level responses from the SFWS. Trellis will obtain student consent to potentially use their educational records in analysis of survey responses.

    Please complete and submit the Student Financial Wellness Survey Letter of Intent.

    If you have questions or concerns, please reach out to your Trellis contact.

    Data needed to administer the survey

    Trellis will need student contact information to send unique links to the survey and certain student data fields to reduce survey burden and track response representativeness. Institutions will provide a roster of students via secured file transfer to Trellis after the fall semester census date, but no later than September 24, 2024.

    The file should contain information for enrolled undergraduates aged 18 or over. Institutions with undergraduate enrollment above 10,000 students may provide a random sampling of 5,000 undergraduate students from their population.

    Please provide the contact and demographic information outlined in the table below. A data dictionary detailing the format of the data request will be provided by your Trellis contact after your institution provides the letter of institutional support. Your Trellis contact will also provide instructions to set up the secure FTP (File Transfer Protocol) system. Data files should be provided in CSV format. PLEASE DO NOT SEND ANY FILES CONTAINING STUDENT DATA THROUGH EMAIL, ONLY THROUGH OUR SECURE CRUSH FTP SYSTEM.

    SFWS Data Request: Institutional Sample and Demographic Fields
    Email 1 Institutionally assigned email address
    Email 2 Secondary email address for the student
    First Name Student first name
    Last Name Student last name
    Unique SFWS Student Identifier (Preferably not the official institutional student ID) It is our preference that this not be the official student ID. A unique student identifier that can be used with a crosswalk to potentially match survey responses to future data elements provided by the institution for additional analysis. If there are issues creating a unique identifier that is not the official institutional student ID, please discuss with your Trellis contact.
    Age Age of student (Not date of birth)
    Race/Ethnicity Race/Ethnicity of student
    Gender Gender of student
    Credit Hours The number of credit hours the student had enrolled in for the semester
    Total Credits Earned Total credit hours earned at institution as of the end of the prior semester

    Effective promotion will ensure robust student participation

    Trellis will work with your institution to encourage student participation in the survey. This includes:

    Whitelisting the Trellis domain to avoid survey invitations from appearing as SPAM. This simple IT procedure will ensure undisrupted communication during the period that the survey is in the field and increase response rates.

    Trellis will provide a recommended schedule and sample email language for your institution to communicate to students about the survey. This communication can improve survey response rates by legitimizing the third-party survey invitation students receive. We request that your institution send a “heads up” email to students in the week prior to the survey to inform them that it is coming, and at least one reminder email during the survey implementation.

    Coordinate with Trellis any additional student incentives to participate. Promoting the survey and providing incentives are good ways to get higher response rates from your students. Trellis will provide survey-wide incentives across all participating institutions. However, providing your own incentives and educating students about the importance of completing the survey is highly encouraged and on average can increase your response rate by 2-3 percentage points. Your Trellis contact will consult with you about best practices for promoting and providing incentives.

    SFWS Student Promotion Flyer

    1. Data sharing and FERPA considerations
      Your Trellis contact is available to discuss Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) regulations and how institutions that have participated in prior SFWS implementations interpreted the permissibility to provide the SFWS data requests. For additional context on data sharing, you can also visit the resources below.

    2. Types of data and records
      • Survey response data: Survey response data refers to all student-level information collected through Trellis’ SFWS tool as a component of participation in the study.
      • Education records: Student-level records may be used to provide context and analysis for response data making the resulting reports more decision-focused for the institution. Students will be fully informed of Trellis’ data security and records retention protocol and informed of potential risks associated with sharing data with personally identifiable information. Proof of digital consent will be stored in a secure, password-protected folder on Trellis’ secured servers.
    3. Storage and destruction
      Survey response data and education records will be located on Trellis’ servers, will be password protected, and will be accessible only from computers connected to Trellis’ internal network. All computers will be locked and password protected when not in use. Furthermore, access to the files will be limited to the Research team with role-based access.All digital copies of personally-identifiable survey response data or personally-identifiable education records from the SFWS data transfers from institutions will be deleted no later than 18 months from the survey close date. All digital copies of de-identified survey response data and education records held by the SFWS will be deleted no later than ten years from the survey implementation date.
    4. Data Security
      Trellis Company has nearly 40 years of experience as responsible stewards of student data. Trellis adheres to a consolidated matrix of security controls that incorporates NIST Moderate Controls, GLBA, and a number of other security frameworks. Data stores are maintained on encrypted network SAN storage in compliance with NIST moderate controls. Our servers are maintained to those same controls, using CIS benchmarks. Identity and Access Management also adheres to NIST moderate controls. Access is role-based and denied by default. All data is backed up for recovery purposes and stored on encrypted media. Data will be destroyed according to the Student Financial Wellness Survey policies described previously. Trellis has a strict asset disposal procedure. All storage media, such as hard drives or tapes, are destroyed and rendered unrecoverable prior to disposal.



    FALL 2024: administered on 10/21/2024


    Carla Fletcher
    Senior Research Analyst and Project Lead
    (512) 219-4637