On June 15, the Financial Aid Office announced the launch of their new Financial Aid Training Institute (FATI). The institute is intended to improve employee skills and empower them to work to their full potential, as well as help them keep up with the constantly changing federal and state aid policies. To date, staff members from the Financial Aid Office have attended sessions on taxes and verification, customer service, business etiquette, counseling, and business writing.
In the coming months, FATI plans to expand with a course on Financial Aid 101 that will be offered to other departments. “We’re inviting the Office of Student Assistance (OSA), Student Accounts, Admissions, the Office of Student Success, as well as other departments that we do business with on a daily basis. Our departments are closely linked and we really do need to share Financial Aid 101 so that we can train everybody,” says Janice Hilbrink, director of the institute. “By training everyone in the basics, they can answer questions without bouncing students around to different departments.” These training sessions are aimed to provide students with a “one-stop shop” for service.
In August, Hilbrink says that advisers from the various schools within the University will be invited to join the directors of Financial Aid at a roundtable discussion about different areas of strengths and weaknesses within the department. It is hoped that the roundtable will promote cohesion between the advisers and the Financial Aid Department—essentially increasing positive communication between the departments and preventing misinformation from being transmitted to students.
“We want to start small now, so that we do it right,” says Hilbrink, “but eventually we hope to invite parents and students in… teach them about the different aspects of financial aid. We see this growing.”
For more information regarding the Financial Aid Training Institute (FATI) please contact Janice Hilbrink at firstname.lastname@example.org or (914)773-3486.