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Committee on Financial Aid to Students

The committee (CFAS) met six times during the 2008-09 academic year. The new director of the Office of Student Financial Services (OSFS) asked for the committee’s advice on a number of issues:
1. Reaching faculty, especially about scholarship awards and the concept of a “static aid amount” (also called “gift aid”) award policy.
2. Developing a mission statement and strategic plan for the office.
3. Surveying student satisfaction with the OSFS.
4. Hearing appeals of financial aid awards and reviewing applications for Ron Brown scholarships.

The latter two issues deserve further discussion.

As part of the overall assessment plan for the Division of Student Services, the OSFS has commissioned a student satisfaction survey by an outside team of evaluators. The team is led by the committee chair Pat Somers, who has experience in financial aid research, and four doctoral students. The team is currently conducting focus groups with undergraduate students and writing a report.

The second issue is the subcommittee on financial aid appeals. The subcommittee considered two appeals this year, which involved complex issues and were very time consuming. The committee is currently drafting a revised process for appeals and supplementary information for students on negotiating the appeals process. The committee will continue to discuss the four issues above in the year to come. The committee interest and participation is at an all-time high and we look forward to an ongoing dialog about financial aid, which is so important to recruiting and retaining our students.
Patricia Somers, chair