What is Student Affairs?

Student Affairs is a dynamic, fast-paced and fulfilling profession for individuals who work diligently to support students and their success at four-year universities and community colleges. Student Affairs professionals help students learn and grow outside of the classroom by linking in-class and out-of-class learning with events, activities and services intentionally designed to help them develop academically and personally. 


Division of Student Affairs 

Most universities are organized to include a division of Student Affairs which can be called Student Success or Student Services. The division is a way to organize campus units and typically includes departments that provide academic support and serve students primarily outside of the classroom (see below list). 


Graduate Programs

Many universities have graduate programs in Student Affairs, Higher Education Leadership, College Counseling, and Higher Education Administration but many positions in Student Affairs do not require advanced degrees. 


Student Affairs Career Fields 

Student Affairs professionals include advisors, administrative staff, case managers, communication specialists, counselors, employment specialists, event planners, financial literacy experts, fiscal analysts, IT specialists, mediators, recruiters, managers, marketing specialists, physicians, researchers, residential life staff members and teachers to name only some of the roles. 


Professional Associations

There are many professional associations for Student Affairs units to provide ongoing professional development and best practices. NASPA, one of the Student Affairs professional associations, provides more information about the history and evolution of Student Affairs. Each October campuses celebrate Careers in Student Affairs Month to highlight the benefits and opportunities of working in Student Affairs which typically include making a positive difference in the lives of students; access to vibrant Campus Life events; health benefits; retirement programs; and professional development programs. 


Career Departments

Below are some of the campus departments that typically are included in Student Affairs.     


Academic Support 

Accessible Education/Disability Services




Basic Needs/Case Managers

Career Services

Commuter Programs


Culturally-Based Centers

Financial Aid

First Generation Programs

Gender Equity Centers

Health and Wellness Centers



LGBTQTIA/Pride Centers


Multicultural Services

New Student Recruitment


Parent & Family Programs



Student Activities

Student Conduct/Judicial Affairs

Student Government

Student Union


Veterans and Military Services