Office for Financial Aid offers several routes to higher education
With $185 million annually pumping through CU’s financial aid office and an average of up to 20,000 students granted aid each year, it is hard to believe students are still timid about seeking help with their tuition.
Terminology within the financial aid field can be confusing for students and may intimidate them from applying for financial aid all together. Some of the more basic, yet commonly misunderstood terms are installment loans, scholarships, and grants.
A definition of these terms was provided by Evan Icolari, associate director of financial aid.
“Loans by their very nature need to be repaid because they are just borrowed money. Grants and scholarships are gift money, money awarded to you because you fit into a certain category and are not expected to repay,” Icolari said.
Furthermore, grants are generally given to students as determined by federal, institutional and state funding, while scholarships generally follow other criteria to govern an award such as an impressive GPA or various activities on campus.
In addition, when a student applies for financial aid, they have the option of applying to multiple scholarships at one time and as far as grants are concerned, when the student is approved for financial aid they are also approved for grants regardless of specifically applying for them or not said Gwen Pomper, director of financial aid.
Icolari went on to explain that although the application process has become less and less complex over the years with the use of the Internet, students are often times still unclear as to what the office has to offer beyond basic aid.
After the student’s application has been processed, the Financial Aid office notifies the applicant of all the different types of aid to which they are eligible.
Other services CU’s Financial Aid office, http://www.colorado.edu/finaid/, provides include debt-counseling regarding loans and future payments, online, telephone and personal assistance with any questions a student or parent may have, work-study and the “job-match” program.
In the case of Jamie Durfee, a sophomore international affairs major, she took full advantage of the work-study program offered through the Financial Aid office.
“I was earning between $130-$150 every couple of weeks. I just logged-on to the CU Connect “finance” tab, e-mailed the contacts that looked like they had a good job for me, created a resume and within a week almost all of the places I had e-mailed wanted to set up an interview with me,” Durfee said.
CU itself actually has no influence over how much money is allocated for work-study because work-study funding is the responsibility of the federal and state government; work-study funding brought in close to $2.7 million this year Pomper said.
Work-study programs are awarded to students who have already applied for financial aid through the school and are funded by the federal government and the employer itself; however, because the federal government recognizes the impossibility of providing enough work-study money to accommodate all students, a “job location and development” or “job-match” program has been added.
The Financial Aid office creates contacts with employer’s off-campus and advertises available positions for students either online or through the office itself.
“It’s more of a self-referral program,” Pomper said. “We work with employers to post, take down and advertise jobs for students.”
Ashley Neumann, sophomore political science and economics major, was recently hired through the “job-match” program.
“It’s so easy; a caveman could do it. My hours are super flexible, I hear it’s always like that (for work-study and job-match programs),” Neumann said. “It’s just nice to find a job within walking distance since I don’t have car.”
The Financial Aid office provides an array of student help beyond the stereotypical, bland paperwork that parents force their children to read and then re-read; the office is there to help students and their parents work through the fiscal questions one would have upon entering college.
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Victoria Barbatelli at email@example.com.