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AISAP 2023: You Are ChatGPT, I Am an Admission Director. HELP!

July 5, 2023
Linda Haitani
Chief Innovation Officer

At the recent AISAP Annual Institute in La Jolla CA, I had the opportunity to sit in on a presentation given by Brennan Stark, Clarity CEO and Co-founder, where he shared remarkable data insights we have gained through Clarity, our innovative financial aid platform. As the founder of Ravenna, a software company that transformed admissions for private K12 schools, I have always believed in the power of data to drive positive change. The excitement and enthusiasm I witnessed among the experienced financial aid professionals in the room confirmed that we are on the cusp of another great data transformation, but this time in the field of financial aid.

The Journey Begins

Clarity has provided us with an unprecedented opportunity to analyze and understand financial aid data on a national and regional level. For the first time, we can examine aggregated data and gain insights into the awarding patterns of families applying for financial aid. Additionally, Clarity's data aggregation capabilities empower schools to gain valuable insights and knowledge to inform their data strategies, while ensuring compliance with regulations and fairness to families.

Brennan presented data that was focused on the awarding for higher-income brackets. He stated, “Clarity observed that over 20% of applicants had households earning greater than $250,000 dollars, reaffirming trends we are all seeing about their ability to afford tuition.” This revelation sparked an engaging discussion among the audience, as financial aid professionals pondered the underlying factors and implications of these findings. We explored the implications of awarding practices in these income brackets and the potential for redefining our approach to ensure fairness and accessibility for all families. It showcased the power of data in shaping our understanding and driving meaningful change in the financial aid landscape.

Fostering Collaborative Growth

One of the highlights for me from  Brennan’s session was the invaluable feedback and input from the financial aid professionals in attendance. Schools provided insights and suggestions for enhancing Clarity’s  data analysis, including examining regional variations in cost of living, considering the impact of population growth on financial aid offerings, and delving into the demographics of enrolled families applying for aid. The conversations also considered the influence of remission and merit-based scholarships on award decisions. This collaborative atmosphere exemplified the commitment of financial aid professionals to continuous improvement and emphasized the potential for refining Clarity’s  data insights to better serve families in need.  This is truly the tip of the iceberg.

Charting the Path Forward

As we move forward, our team at Clarity is dedicated to expanding  data analysis capabilities and diving deeper into the financial aid methodology settings that schools choose to apply, awarding patterns from income and asset ranges, and regional nuances. We understand the importance of equipping financial aid professionals with the tools they need to make informed decisions and have a meaningful impact on the lives of families seeking assistance (again, in compliance with government regulations). By leveraging the power of data, we can enhance strategic decision-making, improve financial sustainability, and promote accessibility and equity in education.

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