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).
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.
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.
Below are some of the campus departments that typically are included in Student Affairs.
Accessible Education/Disability Services
Basic Needs/Case Managers
First Generation Programs
Gender Equity Centers
Health and Wellness Centers
New Student Recruitment
Parent & Family Programs
Student Conduct/Judicial Affairs
Veterans and Military Services