A Land of Acronyms

A Land of Acronyms

Now that the conference is over. What do you think of this early FAFSA and this Prior Prior Year stuff? I know you talked about it a lot, are bringing it back to work to talk about it some more, sharing it with those who were not there. It’s only May but October and 2017/18 is unbelievably here.

My initial take away is pretty superficial. In this world of acronyms we live in, couldn’t we have come up with something more suitable than PPY and what sounds like a child tugging at my pant leg saying I have to go the bathroom? Are we acting all antsy, like the kid who has to go but is trying to hold it? You need answers, you’re anxious, you’re wanting relief. Well, don’t let it go in your pants just yet. There is lot to learn yet and most of that will come from our core customer, the student (and family).

That is my second take away. Let’s not let our reactions to this drive the ship. Let’s listen to the reaction and willingness of our core consumer. How will the student and parent engage and understand it? This will be key. How is something called Prior Prior Year a move in simplification? Unless you’re in the know about how it all has fit together in the past, it means very little. How do you explain it without making it sound confusing? I think, and it may just be me, that we need not call it something special and revolutionary. To the student and family, it just is what it is. Explain how to the complete the FAFSA the way we always have, Help in every way we can. As Jill said in the previous blog, keep it simple and address the questions as they come up. Keep it brief.

Now for us in the field who need to call it something, maybe PPY can be something else that doesn’t remind of a tug at the leg. When my oldest daughter was quite young, she was learning the lingo and started to call yesterday, lasterday. Makes sense right? What is a yester anyway? Lasterday, the last day before today, it was the last day. Ingenious isn’t it. Maybe Prior Prior Year should be Year Before Last or YBL. Start the campaign – YBL.

James Broscheit
University of Northern Colorado