Financial aid gets director

After almost two years of searching, the University has found a new director for the Financial Aid office.

With 13 years of experience in student services, Bryan J. Terry is expected to bring a new level of commitment to his post, which is scheduled to begin on Feb 4.

“He’s a hard worker, the kind of person who will roll up his sleeves to get the job done,” said Patricia Green-Powell, vice president for Student Affairs.

“He’s student oriented and is going to take care of the needs of students.”

According to Green-Powell, Terry’s appointment will improve the University as a whole and help change the negative image that has been attached to FAMU since the beginning of its financial confusion last fall.

“I think people will know that there’s a leader instead of an interim person in the position,” Green-Powell said. “He comes to us with plans for how to solve student issues.”

Terry has served at five post-secondary institutions as an administrator, assistant director of financial aid, and financial aid director.

He most recently held the title of director for the office of Scholarships and Financial Aid at Wayne State University in Detroit. While at Wayne State, his department served 33,000 students and handled approximately $133 million in financial resources. University officials are confident that Terry’s vast level of experience will allow him to excel at his new position.

“If you can provide services for over 30,000 (students), you can handle 13,000,” Green-Powell said.

Students like Jarritt Sheel are optimistic about the new permanent director and have suggestions for how he can positively affect the department.

“He needs to define the roles, goals and responsibilities of the people in financial aid and define what the role of financial aid is for students,” said the 27-year-old, senior music student from Fort Lauderdale.

“The workers should say, ‘what can we do for you?'” he said.

Michael Reynolds, a 21-year-old junior criminal justice student from Gainesville said he hopes that as a result of Terry’s hiring, the department would become more progressive.

“I hope that net checks would be disbursed more quickly and that the staff would have a friendlier attitude and better customer service,” he said.

Laurenda Cuyler, a 19-year-old sophomore allied health student from Monticello agrees.

“The staff needs to realize that if we weren’t here, they wouldn’t have a job,” Cuyler said.

She also said that it would be helpful for students if the financial aid department and student accounts had a joint system.

Jessena Jerger, the university financial aid coordinator, said she hopes that once Terry begins his job, the financial aid department will become fully staffed.

“The financial aid office is having to make a lot of concessions because there are two or three people trying to do the jobs of five or six,” Jerger said.

“If that problem could be remedied, it would be fantastic.”

Green-Powell said she is prepared for quality results.

“I’m looking for the best practices and strong leadership from him,” she said.

“I have high expectations and he knows it.”