Advisory board to help communicate concerns

By Ellen Skelly

Plans for a financial aid advisory board, to help communicate concerns to the financial aid office, are underway and the final nuts and bolts will be in place by March.

The board will be communicating between the financial aid office and the NIU community and providing input on budget needs, said Student Association President Huda Scheidelman.

Other concerns include gathering and communicating information on student needs and addressing concerns of the Student Committee on Financial Aid, Scheidelman said.

She said the scope of the committee is “strictly advisory” to the director of the financial aid office.

Barbara Henley, acting vice-president for Student Affairs, said she is totally supportive of an advisory committee for the financial aid office.

Jerry Augsburger, Student Financial Aid Office director, said he currently had nothing further to report on the advisory board.

All plans for the board are currently tentative, and some changes might still be made by Henley before the committee is established, Scheidelman said.

Representatives to the board will be selected from NIU faculty, staff and students who have frequent contact with the financial aid office, she said.

The 11 member committee will include one person from NIU faculty, the financial aid office, admissions office, minority affairs or special services, computing center, bursar’s office or business affairs office and student affairs office.

Four students will be on the board, one of them a graduate or professional student and another a minority student, Scheidelman said.

The students will be approved by the SA and the faculty member will be approved by the faculty senate, she said.

The director of the financial aid office is a non-voting member of the board.

Scheidelman said there is one minority required on the board because there is a larger percentage of minorities receiving financial aid than the percentage of minorities in university population.

Students have called dealing with the financial aid office an “exercise in frustration,” and attributed it to understaffing in the office, she said.

Scheidelman said Augsburger asked for funds to install a computerized phone system in the financial aid office to help slow heavy phone traffic, but the request was denied.

Henley said there is an advisory committee for campus child care and a student advisory board for the health center.