NAIS SSS Online

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Overview

NAIS SSS Online is short for the National Association of Independent Schools School and Student Service online forms.

Links

Financial Aid: Parents' Financial Statement (PFS)

Up through 2005 (for the 2006-2007 school year), the PFS form was primarly distributed in print form, although it may have been also available online at least for that last year. Starting with the 2006 form (sy 2007-8), the print forms were not automatically included, so many people found themselves using the online form for the first time.

Issues

The online PFS has a number of frustrating but avoidable issues.

  • The account-creation process is a bit weird; instead of choosing a username and password, as with most sites, you are assigned a PIN (although you still get to choose a password).
  • When you first log in, the first question is numbered 5. This is confusing and somewhat disconcerting; it seems to be an attempt to keep the numbering of the online form in sync with the numbering on the printed form, which starts with the Student Applicant Information. (Why they decided to order the questions differently online remains unclear.)
  • Accepts whole dollar amounts, but does not warn you of this in advance
  • A number of questions allow for additional comments to be added; these comments are required in many cases. The questions include a hypertext link with the words "Click here to add your explanation"; clicking opens a smaller window where you can enter comments and save them. The instructions mention that you have a 2000-character limit. What they do not mention is:
    • The comment box is the same across all questions – so you need to indicate the number of the question upon which you are commenting;
    • The 2000-character limit applies to the sum of all your answers; the form does not give any indication, as you are typing, of how much room you have left. (Presumably it tells you if you go over, though I haven't run into this yet. --Woozle 11:08, 28 November 2006 (EST))
    Because the comments are all combined, there is no way for the form to let you know if you have neglected to comment on one of the areas where it is important to do so; such notification would be very useful, as this was one of the more confusing aspects of the printed form (i.e. checking carefully through the "circled" items, some of which were non-numeric, looking for non-zero numbers).
  • As with many online forms, this one complains when you include dashes in credit card numbers or phone numbers. This is completely unnecessary.