Student Financial Aid Research Network

The Student Financial Aid Research Network (SFARN) Conference is a leading space for financial aid researchers and practitioners to network, seek input, and share expertise with colleagues from colleges and universities, state and federal agencies, membership associations, and other non-profit organizations. The conference consists of formal research presentations and panel discussions covering a range of student financial aid and higher education finance topics, such as federal policy changes, student loan debt, higher education access, and the overarching theme of how students and their families pay for college.

41st Annual Student Financial Aid Research Network (SFARN)

Call for Proposals

The Pell Institute is excited to host its 41st Student Financial Aid Research Network (SFARN) Conference on July 10-12 in College Park, MD. The conference is a prime venue for leading financial aid researchers and practitioners to network and share expertise with colleagues from colleges and universities, state and federal agencies, and non-profit organizations. 

The central theme for this conference is equitable financial aid practices and policies at local, state, and federal levels. We welcome sessions focused on new and recently completed research on student aid issues such as federal policy changes, college food insecurity, student loan debt, low-income and non-traditional access, and the overarching theme of how students and their families are paying for college. Proposals must be submitted by Monday, April 15, 2024.

 

Submit proposals here

41st SFARN

Registration is now open!

The 41st Student Financial Aid Research Network (SFARN) Conference will take place in person on July 10-12, at the University of Maryland – College Park located at 3972 Campus Drive College Park, MD, 20742.

Registration Fees:

  • $300 General
  • $100 Student (Undergraduate and Graduate)

*If registering as a student, a student ID will be required at check-in.

Register here
More Information

Attendees have options for multiple hotels in the area. No special rate is required to attain great prices. Options include The Hotel at the Univsersity of Maryland, College Park Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, Crowne Plaza College Park and Cambria Hotel College Park.

Refund Policy — Registration fees paid in advance are refundable (less the processing fee of $50) if written notice of cancellation is received/faxed on or before July 1, 2024. No refund requests will be accepted after this date.

40th Annual

Student Financial Aid Research Network (SFARN) 2023

The Student Financial Aid Research Network (SFARN) 40th Annual Conference was held in person on July 13-14, 2023 at the State University of New Jersey Rutgers.

 

SFARN Conference Archives ( 2010 – Present )

39th Annual Conference / Madison, WI / July 14-15, 2022

39th Annual SFARN Conference
Madison, WI
July 14-15, 2022

Info | Agenda

Dear Student Financial Aid Research Network (SFARN) Community,

The 39th Annual Student Financial Aid Research Network (SFARN) Conference will be held in person on July 14-15, 2022. SFARN Conference is the prime venue for leading financial aid researchers to network, seek input, and share expertise with colleagues from colleges and universities, state and federal agencies, membership associations, and other non-profit organizations. The Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education, in collaboration with the Student Aid Reference Desk, Student Success Through Applied Research (SSTAR) Lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and The Trellis Company hosted the conference.

The conference will consist of formal research presentations, poster presentations, and a policy symposium. We are encouraging this networking event for practitioners who focus on new and recently completed research on student aid issues such as federal policy changes, college food insecurity, student loan debt, low-income or non-traditional access, and the overarching theme of how students and their families are paying for college.

The conference price rate is $295.00, which includes two meals during the conference period. SFARN participants will have a special hotel rate of $179.00 at the Hilton Garden Inn Madison Downtown. There is a special conference rate of $100.00for graduate students who want to present and/or attend the conference (proof of student I.D. required upon registration).

Please register for the 39th Annual SFARN Conference by July 14th here.

The Conference Program for the 39th Annual SFARN Conference is available here (.pdf).

38th Annual Conference / Virtual / June 3-4, 2021

38th Annual SFARN Conference
Virtual
June 3-4, 2021

Info | Presentations

Dear Student Financial Aid Research Network (SFARN) Community,

The Student Financial Aid Research Network (SFARN) seeks proposals (.pdf) for the 38th Annual Conference to be held virtually on June 3-4, 2021. SFARN Conference is the prime venue for leading financial aid researchers to network, seek input, and share expertise with colleagues from colleges and universities, state and federal agencies, membership associations, and other non-profit organizations. The Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education, is pleased to announce that the 2021 SFARN virtual conference will be co-hosted by The Trellis Company.

The COVID pandemic has unmasked many systemic issues with our student financial aid system. Hence our theme this year is Reconstructing Student Financial Aid for Equity. We welcome sessions focused on new and recently completed research on student aid issues such as federal policy changes, college food insecurity, student loan debt, low-income and non-traditional access, and the overarching theme of how students and their families are paying for college. Proposals should fit one of the following formats:

Research Presentations — Research presentations are formal presentations of about 20-minutes of completed or nearly-completed academic studies, policy reports, or other empirical research work. These presentations should address research motivation and questions, data and methods, findings, and implications for policy and practice. Presenters should be prepared to answer questions from audience members following their formal remarks, but generally, these sessions will be less interactive than the other formats.

Poster Presentation — Posters are ideal for those who wish to share and receive feedback on a research project, policy paper, or other work that is still in progress. Authors will have the opportunity to discuss their work in informal conversations with interested participants.

*New for SFARN 2021* Critical Network Conversations, Identification and Facilitation of Research Topics/Projects of Special Interest to our Community — We invite proposals to identify and facilitate research conversations on topics of special interest. These can be research ideas related to the 2021 theme of “Reconstruction” or other research topics. These might involve network conversations on topics/projects for which collaborators are sought, sharing ideas for new research topics, or a focus on methods of special interest. It might also involve discussion of challenges of on-going research, lessons learned from completed work, and how our research can be improved moving forward. These sessions will be organized as small interactive breakout rooms.

Sureima I. Santillan
SFARN Conference Coordinator ([email protected])

37th Annual Conference / Virtual / June 11-12, 2020

37th Annual SFARN Conference
Virtual
June 11-12, 2020

Info | Presentations

Dear Student Financial Aid Research Network (SFARN) Community,

We are pleased to announce that the available presentation slides and recordings from the conference have been posted here. You will note that not all presentations are available at this time. Some of the information presented was preliminary and therefore not ready to be released for general distribution. However, our presenters have agreed to make either their presentations or additional information available at a later date for posting on the website. In addition, please feel free to contact individual presenters with any questions and comments you may have.

Planning is underway for the 38th Annual Conference. As soon as the location and date have been confirmed, we will send out a save the date notice.

The Call for Proposals will be circulated in January 2021. If you do not currently receive information about SFARN or your contact information has changed, please send me an e-mail with your current information.

As always, we thank you for your interest in SFARN, and we welcome any questions or comments you may have.

Sureima I. Santillan
SFARN Conference Coordinator

36th Annual Conference / Atlanta, GA / June 6-7, 2019

36th Annual SFARN Conference
Atlanta, GA
June 6-7, 2019

Info | Gallery | Presentations | Speaker Biographies

I am pleased to announce that presentations from the conference have been posted here. You will note that not all presentations are available at this time. Some of the information presented was preliminary and therefore not ready to be released for general distribution. However, our presenters have agreed to make either their presentations or additional information available at a later date for posting on the website. In addition, please feel free to contact individual presenters with any questions and comments you may have.

Planning is underway for the 37th Annual Conference. As soon as the location and date have been confirmed, we will send out a save the date notice.

The Call for Proposals will be circulated in January 2019. If you do not currently receive information about SFARN or your contact information has changed, please send me an e-mail with your current information.

As always, we thank you for your interest in SFARN, and we welcome any questions or comments you may have.

Sureima I. Santillan
SFARN Conference Coordinator

35th Annual Conference / Austin, TX / June 7-8, 2018

35th Annual SFARN Conference
Austin, TX
June 7-8, 2018

Info | Presentations | Speaker Biographies

I am pleased to announce that presentations from the conference have been posted here. You will note that not all presentations are available at this time. Some of the information presented was preliminary and therefore not ready to be released for general distribution. However, our presenters have agreed to make either their presentations or additional information available at a later date for posting on the website. In addition, please feel free to contact individual presenters with any questions and comments you may have.

Planning is underway for the 36th Annual Conference. As soon as the location and date have been confirmed, we will send out a save the date notice.

The Call for Proposals will be circulated in January 2019. If you do not currently receive information about SFARN or your contact information has changed, please send me an e-mail with your current information.

As always, we thank you for your interest in SFARN, and we welcome any questions or comments you may have.

Sureima I. Santillan
SFARN Conference Coordinator

34th Annual Conference / Annapolis, MD / June 8-9, 2017

34th Annual SFARN Conference
Annapolis, MD
June 8-9, 2017

Info | Presentations | Speaker Biographies

I am pleased to announce that presentations from the conference have been posted here. You will note that not all presentations are available at this time. Some of the information presented was preliminary and therefore not ready to be released for general distribution. However, our presenters have agreed to make either their presentations or additional information available at a later date for posting on the website. In addition, please feel free to contact individual presenters with any questions and comments you may have.

The 35th Annual SFARN Conference will be held June 7-8, 2018, at the Hilton Garden Inn Austin Downtown/Convention Center (500 North Interstate 35) in Austin, TX.

The Call for Proposals will be circulated in January 2018. If you do not currently receive information about SFARN or your contact information has changed, please send me an e-mail with your current information.

As always, we thank you for your interest in SFARN, and we welcome any questions or comments you may have.

Khadish O. Franklin
SFARN Conference Coordinator

33rd Annual Conference / San Francisco, CA / June 9-10, 2016

33rd Annual SFARN Conference
San Francisco, CA
June 9-10, 2016

Register | Preliminary Agenda (.pdf)

Registration is Open for the 33rd Annual Student Financial Aid Research Network (SFARN) Conference

We are pleased to announce that registration is now open for the 33rd Annual SFARN Conference, to be held in San Francisco, CA, June 9-10, 2016.

The Student Financial Aid Research Network Conference is the prime venue for leading financial aid researchers to network, seek input, and share expertise with their colleagues from colleges and universities, state and federal agencies, membership associations and other non-profit organizations. Sessions will focus on new and recently completed research on some of the most prominent issues in student aid today such as merit-based scholarships, student loan debt, low-income and non-traditional access, trends in state aid programs, and the overarching theme of how students and their families are paying for college.

This year, SFARN will once again use the two-day format, with full days of plenary presentations starting at 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, June 9, 2016. The conference will continue the morning of Friday, June 10, 2016, and go all day, ending no later than 5:00 p.m. There will be no Saturday sessions, though our room block will carry over Friday night into Saturday.

The registration fee for the 33rd SFARN is $390if you register by May 18, 2016. After that date, registration is $440. This fee includes all meals (2 continental breakfasts, 2 lunches, afternoon and morning breaks) and conference materials.

Registration for this year’s conference will be done entirely via the Internet. To access registration, please click here. Select “33rd Student Financial Aid Research Network Conference” from the list of events to continue. After this point, you will need a logon and password to complete the registration process. If you have previously attended a SFARN Conference, we will have your record in our system. Just use the instructions in the “How To” guide on the “Log On” page to find out what your logon is, and then how to reset your password (if necessary).

If you cannot locate a record for yourself in our system, you will have to “Create a new account”.

If you require assistance gaining access to our site for registration, please contact Neda Wickson at the Council for Opportunity in Education. Her e-mail address is ([email protected]).

The preliminary agenda (.pdf) is now available. For questions about the conference, contact Colleen O’Brien by e-mail.

Thank you, and we hope to see you in San Francisco!

Colleen T. O’Brien
SFARN Conference Coordinator

32nd Annual Conference / Indianapolis, IN / June 11-12, 2015

32nd Annual SFARN Conference
Indianapolis, IN
June 11-12, 2015

Register | Preliminary Agenda (.pdf)

Registration is Open for the 32nd Annual Student Financial Aid Research Network (SFARN) Conference

We are pleased to announce that registration is now open for the 32nd Annual SFARN Conference, to be held in Indianapolis, IN, June 11-12, 2015.

The Student Financial Aid Research Network Conference is the prime venue for leading financial aid researchers to network, seek input, and share expertise with their colleagues from colleges and universities, state and federal agencies, membership associations and other non-profit organizations. Sessions will focus on new and recently completed research on some of the most prominent issues in student aid today such as merit-based scholarships, student loan debt, low-income and non-traditional access, trends in state aid programs, and the overarching theme of how students and their families are paying for college.

This year, SFARN will once again use the two-day format, with full days of plenary presentations starting at 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, June 11, 2015. The conference will continue the morning of Friday, June 12, 2015, and go all day, ending no later than 5:00 p.m. There will be no Saturday sessions, though our room block will carry over Friday night into Saturday.

The registration fee for the 32nd SFARN is $390if you register by May 29, 2015. After that date, registration is $440. This fee includes all meals (2 continental breakfasts, 2 lunches, afternoon and morning breaks) and conference materials.

Registration for this year’s conference will be done entirely via the Internet. To access registration, please click here. Select “32nd Student Financial Aid Research Network Conference” from the list of events to continue. After this point, you will need a logon and password to complete the registration process. If you have previously attended a SFARN Conference, we will have your record in our system. Just use the instructions in the “How To” guide on the “Log On” page to find out what your logon is, and then how to reset your password (if necessary).

If you cannot locate a record for yourself in our system, you will have to “Create a new account”.

If you require assistance gaining access to our site for registration, please contact Neda Wickson at the Council for Opportunity in Education. Her e-mail address is ([email protected]).

The preliminary agenda (.pdf) is now available. For questions about the conference, contact Colleen O’Brien by e-mail.

Thank you, and we hope to see you in Indianapolis!

Colleen T. O’Brien
SFARN Conference Coordinator

31st Annual Conference / Providence, RI / June 12-13, 2014

31st Annual SFARN Conference
Providence, RI
June 12-13, 2014

Register | Hotel | Call for Proposals | Agenda (.pdf)

Registration is Open for the 31st Annual Student Financial Aid Research Network (SFARN) Conference

We are pleased to announce that registration is now open for the 31st Annual SFARN Conference, to be held in Providence, RI, June 12-13, 2014.

The Student Financial Aid Research Network Conference is the prime venue for leading financial aid researchers to network, seek input, and share expertise with their colleagues from colleges and universities, state and federal agencies, membership associations and other non-profit organizations. Sessions will focus on new and recently completed research on some of the most prominent issues in student aid today such as merit-based scholarships, student loan debt, low-income and non-traditional access, trends in state aid programs, and the overarching theme of how students and their families are paying for college.

This year, SFARN will once again use the two-day format, with full days of plenary presentations starting at 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, June 12, 2014. The conference will continue the morning of Friday, June 13, 2014, and go all day, ending no later than 5:00 p.m. There will be no Saturday sessions, though our room block will carry over Friday night into Saturday.

The registration fee for the 31st SFARN is $350if you register by May 30, 2014. After that date, registration is $400. This fee includes all meals (2 continental breakfasts, 2 lunches, afternoon and morning breaks) and conference materials.

Registration for this year’s conference will be done entirely via the Internet. To access registration, please click here. Select “31st Student Financial Aid Research Network Conference” from the list of events to continue. After this point, you will need a logon and password to complete the registration process. If you have previously attended a SFARN Conference, we will have your record in our system. Just use the instructions in the “How To” guide on the “Log On” page to find out what your logon is, and then how to reset your password (if necessary).

If you cannot locate a record for yourself in our system, you will have to “Create a new account”.

If you require assistance gaining access to our site for registration, please contact Brittany Ross at the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education. Her e-mail address is ([email protected]).

The final agenda will be available shortly. For questions about the conference, please contact Colleen O’Brien by e-mail.

Thank you, and we hope to see you in Providence!

Colleen T. O’Brien
SFARN Conference Coordinator

30th Annual Conference / Portland, OR / June 20-21, 2013

30th Annual SFARN Conference
Portland, OR
June 20-21, 2013

Info | Presentations | Speaker Biographies

SFARN Celebrates 30th Anniversary

The 30th Annual Student Financial Aid Research Network (SFARN) convened June 20-21 in Portland, OR. SFARN, a national network of practitioners and consumers of research and policy analysis, annually brings together some of the nation’s leading financial aid researchers and analysts.

The first conference met in Washington, D.C., and was organized under the leadership of Jerry Davis and Pell Institute Senior Scholar Tom Mortenson, who at that time were respectively at the Pennsylvania and Illinois state student aid agencies. As Mortenson noted in the published proceedings, it was convened as “an outgrowth of efforts to establish communications and build upon the research efforts underway in the state agencies responsible for administering student aid.”

Thirty years later, the need to network face- to-face with colleagues to inform current research and practice still remains the paramount reason for this gathering. Conference participants frequently present work in progress, seeking the expertise and experience of colleagues to identify problems with data and analysis, discuss trends, and raise awareness of potential impact on other aid programs and research projects.

This year, the two-day conference featured 24 presentations on student aid and related topics. Highlights of this year’s conference include:

  • updates from the U.S. Department of Education on the release of data from recently completed surveys, and the schedule for administering the next iteration of several of the national datasets and surveys, such as the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS), Baccalaureate and Beyond (B&B;), and Beginning Postsecondary Students (BPS). These surveys form the national basis of knowledge for students pay for college and how they persist (or not) to completion of a degree.
  • preliminary data estimates from the NPSAS:12, which will not be finalized and released until later this year.
  • early findings on studies of alternative programs that: try to streamline low-income students’ access to student aid and other benefits and assistance they may receive; that alter the timing and amount of aid received; and that incentivize student aid, all with the goal of reducing the incidence of drop-outs and stop-outs, and increasing persistence;
  • several studies on student loan debt levels among certain groups of students, such as transfer students and Pell Grant recipients, and variation by other analytical frames, such as credits completed or types of degree.
  • panel discussions about the first round of the Gates Foundation’s funded project Reimagining Aid Design and Delivery (RADD), including proposals forwarded by participating organizations, and a broader discussion of the parameters of how and why student aid could be re-purposed and/or re-designed.

The luncheon speaker, Liz Clark — Director of Congressional Affairs at the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) — spoke to participants about the prospects for congressional action on several issues, including the current sequestration, the FY 2014 budget, and the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. Ms. Clark was not optimistic that reauthorization will get underway this year or the next. She also reminded the group that as researchers and analysts, it is tempting to think that high quality work and strong data are the most important factors in making policy, but people and personalities are bigger drivers in moving ideas and processes forward.

The SFARN network was first organized by members of the National Association of State Student Grant and Aid Programs (NASSGAP) and the National Council for Higher Education Loan Programs (NHCELP) to encourage and disseminate research to inform public policies at the state and federal levels. Members come from state grant and loan agencies, federal agencies, faculties and staff of postsecondary institutions, education associations, and other groups.

Attendees at the first conference included representatives from 19 state agencies, 9 Washington-based organizations, 6 federal agencies/congressional committees, and 4 colleges and universities. The composition has changed over time, particularly as tight state budgets have limited participation but state agencies. The 2013 conference included representatives from 3 state agencies, 5 national and state membership associations, 3 federal agencies/congressional committees, 9 non-profit and research organizations, 10 colleges and universities, 2 programs, and 1 foundation.

Since 2004, the Pell Institute and the Council for Opportunity in Education have coordinated the annual conference under the guidance of former Pell Institute Director Colleen O’Brien.

Presentations from the conference have been posted here; not all presentations will be available, as some data and findings were preliminary and / or not for general distribution.  For further information, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

29th Annual Conference / Memphis, TN / June 13-15, 2012

29th Annual SFARN Conference
Memphis, TN
June 13-15, 2012

Info | Presentations | Speaker Biographies

I am pleased to announce that presentations from the conference have been posted here. You will note that not all presentations are available at this time. Some of the information presented was preliminary and therefore not ready to be released for general distribution. However, our presenters have agreed to make either their presentations or additional information available at a later date for posting on the website. In addition, please feel free to contact individual presenters with any questions and comments you may have.

Planning is underway for the 30th Annual Conference. As soon as the location and date have been confirmed, we will send out a save the date notice.

The Call for Proposals will be circulated in January 2013. If you do not currently receive information about SFARN or your contact information has changed, please send me an e-mail with your current information.

As always, we thank you for your interest in SFARN, and we welcome any questions or comments you may have.

Colleen T. O’Brien
SFARN Conference Coordinator

28th Annual Conference / Philadelphia, PA / June 2-4, 2011

28th Annual SFARN Conference
Philadelphia, PA
June 2-4, 2011

Info | Presentations | Speaker Biographies

I am pleased to announce that presentations from the conference have been posted here. You will note that not all presentations are available at this time. Some of the information presented was preliminary and therefore not ready to be released for general distribution. However, our presenters have agreed to make either their presentations or additional information available at a later date for posting on the website. In addition, please feel free to contact individual presenters with any questions and comments you may have.

Planning is underway for the 29th Annual Conference. As soon as the location and date have been confirmed, we will send out a save the date notice.

The Call for Proposals will be circulated in January 2012. If you do not currently receive information about SFARN or your contact information has changed, please send me an e-mail with your current information.

As always, we thank you for your interest in SFARN, and we welcome any questions or comments you may have.

Sincerely,

Colleen T. O’Brien
SFARN Conference Coordinator

27th Annual Conference / San Diego, CA / June 10-12, 2010

27th Annual SFARN Conference
San Diego, CA
June 10-12, 2010

Info | Presentations | Speaker Biographies

I am pleased to announce that presentations from the conference have been posted to the Pell Institute website and can be found here. You will note that not all presentations are available at this time. Some of the information presented was preliminary and therefore not ready to be released for general distribution. However, our presenters have agreed to make either their presentations or additional information available at a later date for posting on the website. In addition, please feel free to contact individual presenters with any questions and comments you may have.

Planning is underway for the 28th Annual Conference. While we do not have any definitive details to share, we can let you know that the conference will most likely be held either the 2nd or 3rd week in June (June 9-11, 2011, or June 16-18, 2011). As soon as the location and date have been confirmed, we will send out a save the date notice.

The Call for Proposals will be circulated in January 2011. If you do not currently receive information about SFARN or your contact information has changed, please send me an e-mail with your current information.

As always, we thank you for your interest in SFARN, and we welcome any questions or comments you may have.

Sincerely,

Colleen T. O’Brien
SFARN Conference Coordinator

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