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uAspire's Student Advisory Board

September 28, 2023

uAspire's Student Advisory Board
In March 2023, uAspire established a Student Advisory Board to help deepen our advising program's student engagement and impact. Through this paid opportunity, nine uAspire high school and college students from California, Massachusetts, and New York collaborated with uAspire’s learning and evaluation team over four months. 

Board members focused on advising practices and communications methods, specifically texting strategies and content. They provided valuable insight and practical advice, proposing texting best practices, highlighting beneficial content, and suggesting additions to the advising curriculum. Their recommendations included several ways to make complex financial aid information more transparent and accessible.

“We know that students know best, and our Student Advisory Board has been incredibly valuable, allowing us to make faster, real-time improvements to the advising program, says Karen Wilber, uAspire’s senior director of learning and evaluation. “Their input has helped us better explain complicated financial aid rules in more student-friendly ways and prioritize the topics that matter most to students.”

Tara, an advisory board member and student at SUNY College, Binghamton, shared, “I enjoyed being able to voice my opinions and thoughts about uAspire, as everyone was very attentive and willing to listen to them.”

“I enjoyed being a part of the student advisory group because of the positive environment and knowing that I played a big part in helping improve uAspire, says Alexandra, a recent graduate of Curry College. “Without uAspire, I don't know how I would have completed the FAFSA alone. I felt very, very blessed to be a part of uAspire and have an advisor to guide me through the process. It felt great to be in the student advisory group to help give back to the program that helped me.”

The advisory board validated existing practices and prompted uAspire to explore new questions and areas for improvement, helping to ensure that the program is responsive to students’ evolving needs.

“The students had a great discussion about uAspire’s Financially Safer Schools framework that led us to redesign this resource for students,” says Karen. “When talking about which factors matter most to students when making a list of colleges to apply to, the location was frequently at the top of everyone's list, prompting us to add an interactive map to our resource,” explains Karen.

The new 2024 Student Advisory Board begins meeting in December 2023, further solidifying uAspire’s commitment to continuous improvement, amplifying student voices, and understanding their experiences.