The Challenged Financial Aid Officer, Part II: Financial Aid Officers Reveal the Impact of the Economic Downturn in 2001-2002. (on the Money)

Article excerpt

CAROLE LAPIERRE-DENNING, Dir., Financial Aid Worcester State College, Worcester, MA

Student pop: about 6,000

Primary lenders: Fleet, Nellie Mae

"We heard rumblings last year that the budget would be cut, so I set aside some funds in case the cuts were severe. From what I set aside and through attrition we were able to avoid reducing financial aid for the coming year. Right now, we are anticipating lessened state scholarship funding. The House Ways and Means Committee has voted for a reduced amount and we're waiting for the senate to put its two cents in--currently, we don't know how substantial the cuts may be. The challenge will be dealing with these reductions to maximize the access to students. This year the cuts were significant but not severe, but if the economy continues as it is I may have a different answer for you next year."

DORIS SMITH, Assistant Dean, Financial Aid North Central State College, Mansfield, OH

Student pop: 3,000-4,000

Primary lender: FFELP

"Our state ended up in deficit, but we weren't expecting anything as drastic as the tack of state funding we were faced with. We've lost resources, personnel, and internal dollars. We're raising tuition (4-5 percent), plus adding additional fees for labs, etc., but the cuts are affecting everything. The greatest challenge, however, is Just to help our students with the cost of everyday living. Many of our commuting students have to drive an hour, hour-and-a-half to get to school, and with the cost of gas, car upkeep, or other transportation, it's one expense on top of another for them. In this depressed part of the country, many businesses have closed, and people thought they would go back to school, but it's costing them much more than they imagined. Financial aid doesn't cover it, and they thought it would."

SUSAN L. PUGH, Dir., Student Financial Assistance Indiana University, Bloomington, IN

Student pop: 35,474

Participates in direct lending

"The Indiana State Legislature had difficulty reaching consensus regarding funding of the state institutions, which affected our ability to project estimated instructional fees for the 2002-2003 enrollment periods in order to package aid. As a result, awarding has been over a month behind schedule, which will cause a certain cascading effect of delays in management calendar target dates. …

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