to Federal Issues Index
Tips for Effective Communication with Congress
As a financial aid administrator or partner, you have the ability
to effect change on behalf of your students and institutions; however,
the manner in which you do this may indeed impact the outcome. Practical
tips are shared in an effort to increase your effectiveness in the
political process. Your efforts can and do make a difference!
State in Clear Language (or as clearly as regulatory
language can be) the Reason for Your Contact –
and Get to the Point Quickly – Indicate "Support For
or Against" an issue upfront, as often staffers don't get to
the details but simply take counts.
Get to Know the Staffers – This may provide
the leverage you need to make direct contact with an elected official.
Be Tactful – You certainly don't want
to alienate the powers who will ultimately make the decisions
for you, your students and your institution.
Be Brief as Brevity is Best – It's the
same premise as "Simple is More" (not to exceed one
page in length where possible).
Use Statistics to Illustrate Major Points –
Localize them to your campus – How will your students be impacted
by a regulation or a proposed regulation?
Use Anecdotal Evidence to Illustrate Your Point
– One cannot underestimate the power of a flesh and blood
example – Be careful, however, about privacy unless you have
a signed release to mention a specific name and circumstance.
Acknowledge the Efforts of the Elected Official
– Regardless of the nature of the contact, express appreciation
to the elected official for the work that's being done in behalf
Retain Copies of Correspondence and Share Information
– If you are responding to a NPRM or Reauthorization Task
Force request, share your response with the appropriate entity
NASFAA provides more information on how to communicate with Congress