The Financial Aid Counseling Unit connects students with a financial counselor

The counseling unit has met over 600 students so far and is looking to expand.

DeKALB — In December, the board approved the establishment of a student financial aid advisory unit. It currently holds Director Anne Hardy and three advisers: Angie Gutierrez-Vargas, Jon Miller and Jorie O’Brien.

According to their website, this financial aid unit offers one-on-one appointments with a financial counselor, to understand your loans, academic progress appeals, and a GradReady learning module. Students will be able to learn to understand their financial aid situation in an easier way through this program.

“The goals of this unit are for our financial advisors to help our students understand how to reduce expenses, such as making timely decisions about medical insurance payment plans,” Hardy said. “Also to maximize available resources such as scholarships, employment, income, institutional or federal financial aid, and loan options.”

In its temporary location at Campus Life Building Career Services, this finance unit has seen over 600 students so far. Even though they only have the director and three advisers, they are looking to expand.

“We’re not sure, you know, how many people we’re going to need,” Hardy said. “But the more we do, the more opportunity we have to figure out exactly what we need to score that best. It’s going slow, we’re doing outreach this summer for the incoming class, so we’re providing this rationale that we need additional staff.

Some might worry what the cost of this new unit would take up in school funding, but Sol Jensen, vice president of enrollment management, marketing and communications, assures that is not the case.

“The entire budget just goes to staff, there’s a small budget for printing and copies,” Jensen said. “We also buy computers and stuff for the office. Any additional income from tuition each year goes into student services, including this one.

As the financial unit for students seeks to promote and increase its staff to help students, they are ready to help wherever they can.