Financial aid office stays busy

Karon Parrish
Editor-in-Chief
Photo by Karon Parrish
Show me the money -- Financial Aid office staff include first-year student Mande Wells, Amanda Bramlett, director Susan Brewer, Becky Hammett and Marilyn Tolbert.  Staff not pictured include secretary Becky Rice, sophomore Kerri Stafford and first-year student Brooke Harville.

   While many offices on campus slow down around May through September, financial aid is in the middle of the busiest time of the year.

   Students who need financial assistance to complete a college education will at some point visit this office. If you need money to finish a degree, this is the office for students to visit. Aid for Air and Army National Guard members and students referred from rehabilitation services are also offered through this office.                            

   “In the past few years there have been an overwhelming number of students seeking aid for summer school tuition.  So not only is our office dealing with fall and spring aid but also summer,” director of Financial Aid Susan Brewer said.

   The office has five full-time staff and three student workers to handle the load of over 4,000 student financial aid applications. 

   “Not all students who complete the financial aid application attend but we still have to process the application,  Brewer said.

   The most important issue for the office is to educate students and parents that financial aid should be completed months in advance of the entrance date.

   “The 2005-2006 school year aid application should be completed now. However, they will need their 2004 income tax return information and many people do not have this completed yet. But as soon as they do, they should send in their information,” Brewer said.

   The paper application often takes more than six weeks to be processed but a new online application is available to everyone by going to the Financial Aid homepage and entering the information. The 2004 income tax information is still needed, but if a student has this information it may only be a three-day turnaround instead of the six weeks or more.

   All payments of private scholarships or those from the State of Arkansas, such as the Arkansas Academic Scholarship, are paid to this office. The details for entering the scholarship recipients is very time consuming but also a major part of tying in information for other offices as well. The financial aid office works closely with Admissions and often has to direct students to visit appropriate offices in order to be officially admitted and ready for the first day of classes.

   Becky Hammett, assistant director of Financial Aid, deals with student financial aid, counseling, package information, AmeriCorps, Title IV funds and Pell Grant payments.  She has been with the office for almost four years. She has two years experience working in the Southwestern Oklahoma University financial aid office and more than five years at Louisiana Tech University.

   Many students will meet Amanda Bramlett since she works with student entrance and exit interviews. She also directs the Stafford Loan Program and assistants with student counseling. Bramlett has worked in financial aid for two years.

   No office would be complete without someone making sure all the files are verified and that is what Marilyn Tolbert handles as well as counseling. She has held this position for two years and previously worked for two years in the cashier’s office. Prior to her employment at UAM, she worked at University of Arkansas – Pine Bluff for 17 years.

    One of the most important people students will meet and work with throughout their financial aid process is Becky Rice, financial aid secretary. She normally answers the phone and meets most students entering the office. She handles the front desk for visitors, provides student counseling and oversees the Work-Study Program for student workers on campus. Rice has been with the financial aid office for six and a half years with two years previous experience in forestry.

   “The financial aid office cannot function without the help of student workers. Most of our workers will stay with us until they graduate. At present, we have three student workers, sophomore Kerri Stafford, freshman Mande Wells and freshman Brooke Harville,” Brewer said.

   Brewer stressed the importance of completing the aid application either online or on paper and completing all the steps in order to see if students will qualify for aid for the upcoming fall semester. 

   “Online is definitely the way to go. I hope everyone will take advantage of this option,” Brewer said. 

   For more information ,visit the financial aid office located on the third floor of Harris Hall. Students may also call (870) 460-1050 or 1-800-226-2643. The financial aid homepage is up-to-date with an assortment of information for all students. Visit the site by clicking on http://www.uamont.edu/FinancialAid.

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The Voice, 2005
Revised 050128 — http://www.uamont.edu/Organizations/TheVoice/2_9/financial.htm