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Innovation

RESEARCH DRIVES INSIGHTS & INNOVATION

In 2013, American Student Assistance® (ASA) began surveying loan borrowers to provide regular and unbiased analysis of the profound impact student loan debt is having on the daily lives and spending habits of young Americans. This research illuminated how wide-spread the issue is – regardless of the type of institution or the level of credential earned. The annual “Life Delayed” report demonstrated the long-term and negative effects student loan debt was having on student loan borrowers on other milestones, such as purchasing a home or investing in retirement. This research helped inform our expanded mission as we shifted to helping students at a younger age, so they can make more informed choices about higher education.

We continue to make research a key component of our work to ensure that our programs are engaging and effective. We apply comprehensive insights and outcomes measurement processes to all of our programs, and we share our thought leadership with our partners and collaborators to drive systemic change and improve post-secondary planning at a national level.

For more information, contact Alisa Wilke, VP of Strategy and Innovation, at awilke@asa.org.

Our Methodology

Starting with robust research and insights, we make sure we know everything about our audience of young people, their influencers, and the competitive landscape in which we are operating. Our team of researchers has deep expertise uncovering the attitudes, needs, and preferences of target audiences (students, parents, school professionals, etc.) through in-depth interviewing, ethnographies, and survey research.

Our outcomes model is designed around proven knowledge and behavior change evaluation. Every program we deliver – be it directly or through our partners – is measured for impact and the value of that impact.

ASA® identifies, captures and integrates relevant data into insights and outcomes. We work with three main types of data: publicly available, primary/proprietary, and syndicated. Our team is skilled at using industry-standard tools to validate, secure, analyze, report and distribute data. Distilling this data and combining it with our insights and outcomes is the engine that helps to drive our innovation process.

Our best “innovation lab” is working directly within our community, online, and with our collaborators. We seek to partner with established in-market leaders to expand access to our target audience and find new solutions that can be tested for efficacy. Important collaborators include education institutions, technology partners, and K-12 school systems.

School Grants

Massachusetts Middle School Exploration Grants
ASA is pleased to award grants to 7 Massachusetts communities to support career and interest exploration programs in middle school (grades 6-8). The innovative programs, which will be implemented in the 2019-2020 school year, will facilitate awareness of diverse education and career possibilities. Read the full announcement.

Karen Crebase, Superintendent of Schools, Hopedale, Massachusetts
“ASA is recognizing an important need by helping kids start to explore college and career options at an early age. Hopedale is thrilled to be partnering with ASA to provide our middle school students with a grant to fund STEAM education, teaching engineering, robotics, sensor input, animation, and many other standards. Like ASA, we believe that by providing our students with these learning opportunities in seventh and eighth grade, they will make informed decisions about computer science courses during high school and college. By teaming with ASA, Hopedale schools will be at the forefront of preparing our students for careers in computer science, which our business community has identified as a critical need.”