Financial aid counseling unit connects students with a financial adviser

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


Sean Reed

The new Student-facing financial aid counseling unit helps students to understand their loans and their financial situations.

DeKALB — In December, the Board of Trustees passed confirmation to push forward with a student-facing financial aid counseling unit. It currently holds Director Anne Hardy and three advisers: Angie Gutiérrez-Vargas, Jon Miller and Jorie O’Brien. 

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

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

At their temporary location at career services in the Campus Life Building, this financial unit has met with over 600 students so far. Even though they only have the director and three advisers, they are looking to expand. 

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

Some might worry about what the cost of this new unit would take up space in the schools’ funding but Sol Jensen, Vice President of Enrollment Management, Marketing and Communications, ensures that it doesn’t. 

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

As the student-facing financial unit looks to promote and increase their staff to help students, they are ready to help anywhere they can.