Student committee to launch financial education program

, Beacon Staff/strong

MJ Knoll-Finn, the college’s vice president of enrollment, announced plans to launch a financial education program Tuesday that the student advisory committee will work on implementing this semester.

The committee, composed of six students, including SGA members Christine Hayes and Adriana Guida, deals with issues of financial aid, student accounts, and the student service center, according to Knoll-Finn.

Knoll-Finn said the financial education program will make information more available to students who have questions through an online component.

“It seems like everyone needs multiple ways to get what they want, and we know the web can be a great way to do that,” she said.

Get This Week's News

All the big stories delivered to your inbox every Thursday morning 

Knoll-Finn asked for input from SGA members, who cited problems with timely refunds from financial aid, a lack of communication with students about available services, and receptionists not knowing the answers to questions.

According to Knoll-Finn, many students’ problems are caused by the constantly changing rules.

“We’ve got to figure out how do we create a structure that allows them to be informed and well-trained in all areas,” she said. “People are afraid they’re going to say the wrong thing because it changes.”

Senior class president Wynn Chandler Harrison said that hosting town hall type meetings where students could raise unanswered questions might help solve the problem of a lack of knowledge on students’ part.

“I feel like this stuff is really understandable,” said Harrison. “And students will understand that if you just tell them. I think a lot of the disconnect is that students are apathetic. It doesn’t really affect them until it affects them.”

Maria Warith, transfer student commissioner, noted that transfer students often feel unaware of policy changes that happen between their acceptance time and when they begin at the college.

“Transfer students need to be informed about policy changes,” said the sophomore journalism major. “I know trying to take out loans and stuff is very stressful because before I didn’t have to take out loans.”

Knoll-Finn said that the online component of the project would make it easier for students to access information about financing college. She also said the committee would work on updating transfer students more promptly when rules change.

“We have three groups that we’re looking at. We have undergraduate, transfer, and graduate. And to your point, I think transfer does have its own place at that table,” she said. “Transfer students are an important part of our population.”

Knoll-Finn said the committee had met earlier this semester for the first time to work on enrollment planning, retention, and how class size affects overall school size.

Freshman marketing major Garnet McLaughlin said she thinks that the committee and the financial education program will help students be more aware of financing their education.

“I would look for smart information about loans and interest rates. Also some people have trouble finding an eligible co-signer and that can be a problem,” she said.

McLaughlin added that the idea of being able to access much of the information online is important.

“When it comes to financial stuff, sometimes people are embarrassed, so that would be good to be able to go online and check things out for yourself,” she said.