Financial aid student liaison program launches into action

The office of the vice president for student affairs and the office of financial aid are accepting applications from eligible students to become financial aid campus liaisons.  

Interim Vice President for Administrative and Financial Services Joseph Bakker and Vice President of Student Affairs William Hudson Jr. both created the program and it’s set to begin next semester.

 “We were brainstorming ways to improve the financial aid process while encouraging students to complete the process early,” Hudson said.

According to an email sent through FAMUINFO, students must meet the set requirements and undergo a rigorous interview followed by training.

Applicants must be full-time students enrolled in at least 12 credit hours or six credit hours for graduate students. Students must have and maintain a 2.5 cumulative GPA for undergraduate students and a 3.0 cumulative GPA for graduate students. 

“In order to remain eligible for financial aid, a student must demonstrate satisfactory academic progress,” Hudson said.  “We want to ensure that student liaisons are actively progressing towards graduation. Liaisons need to have the proper balance between work and school.”

Liaisons will be available between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. for a minimum of 10 hours weekly.

According to Hudson, liaisons will be able to answer general questions about the financial aid process such as changes within the Office of Financial Aid and how to complete a financial aid package and other related topics.

Hudson said liaisons will not engage in personal account information and will direct those students to the Office of Financial Aid. They will, however, host town hall meetings, attend previews for prospective Rattlers, present to students in their first-year experience classes and act as a recruitment tool and an aid to FAMU students.

Dominique James, a junior public relations student from Orlando, said she hopes liaisons make a great impact.

“I think it’s a good idea,” James said. “As a peer mentor, I’ve seen how well students respond to their own peers. We hear horror stories about financial aid, but as students who experience those problems, we better understand how students feel and can alleviate some of the stresses.  If executed, it will be an asset to financial aid.”

Evan Bailey, student government association vice president, said the program will be beneficial to students.

“I think that it improves transparency and it’s an excellent opportunity for students to get involved in the financial aid process,” Bailey said. “However, I don’t think that this should excuse the fact that we still need continued improvements at the administrative level so that our students can be afforded the best services possible.”

Students will be able to find the liaisons in a central location on campus.

“We want them to be where the students are,” Hudson said.

The liaisons will be identifiable by a uniform of a polo shirt, khaki pants and an official college nametag. The shirt and nametag are provided if selected for the program.  Hudson said that the compensation for students work will be set at $8 an hour.

Students must submit their applications to the office of the vice president for student affairs at 308 Foote-Hilyer Administration Center, or to Angela Coleman at angela.coleman@famu.eduby Wednesday, at 5 p.m.