Student Financial Wellness Survey – Implementation Guidelines2018-09-11T16:03:38+00:00

Student Financial Wellness Survey

Implementation Guidelines

Step 1: Sample Institutional letter to students

Once you have been in contact with the project coordinator, the first step for participation in the Student Financial Wellness Survey (SFWS) will be to 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).

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. 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].



Step 2: Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

You may require approval from your institution’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) prior to administration of the SFWS. Oftentimes an IRB will waive review due to the nature of the project, but some IRBs will want to review the study before approving the project on campus. Please work with your Trellis contact for support in obtaining 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 be providing participating institutions student-level responses from the SFWS. In addition, Trellis will be obtaining student consent to utilize their educational records in analysis of survey responses.

Step 3: Provide a student population sample for the study.

Cut-off date is August 15th for each fall survey implementation.
Provide a sample of students, including email address and select demographics to Trellis Company based on the table below.

Less than 10,000 students Population (all students)
More than 10,000 students 5,000 students

Due to the importance of this survey, combined with low survey response rates that have been well documented in social science, 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 File Format and Select Demographics

To ensure a representative sample of your students, please provide the contact and demographic information outlined below. Trellis will provide instructions for secure FTP (File Transfer Protocol) after institutions provide a letter of institutional support. Data files should be provided in CSV format.

Step 4: Consider marketing and incentivizing survey completion

A higher response rate to the SFWS implementation on your campus can facilitate a more accurate representation of your student body. Marketing and incentives are a good way to get higher response rates. Trellis Company will be providing survey-wide incentives across all participating institutions, but providing your own incentives and marketing to students the importance of completing the survey is highly encouraged. A Trellis consultant or the project coordinator can consult with you about best practices in marketing and providing incentives.

Step 5: Survey Implementation

Step 6: Post survey matching for more actionable insights. Cut-off date is December 15th for each fall survey implementation

Trellis Company will send a file with students who have consented to the data match after the survey implementation period. Institutions are asked to match the education records for those students who consent and return the file to Trellis by December 15th.

Student Consent

Participants in the SFWS will be asked to consent to having select education records released by their institution for matching with their survey responses. Providing select educational records along with the student sample will allow researchers to:

  • Link survey responses to specific student characteristics, enrollment patterns, and academic success metrics.
  • Introduce non-self-reported student data into survey analysis.
  • Allow for a more comprehensive analysis of student success indicators.

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