Financial aid office implements change

Derrin Coad, Staff Reporter

The Office of Financial Aid updated its name over the winter break to the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships in an attempt to alleviate confusion as where students can find information about the various scholarships Eastern has to offer.

This name change occurred Jan.1 and was first announced on Eastern’s university newsletter earlier in the month.

Carol Waldmann, the interim director of financial aid and scholarships, said the addition to the previous name was a common-sense move.

“We wanted to make this name change to better identify our office as the office that handles numerous scholarships as well as federal, state and institutional financial aid,” Waldmann said.

Waldmann and her office has added the Commitment to Excellence scholarship and the Transfer Achievement scholarship over the last two years, and because of their increased scholarship presence, the change to be more visible to students was necessary.

A sign was attached to the Student Service Building on Dec. 19 to further highlight the name change, as well as increase awareness as to where students and other visitors to campus can go to ask about scholarships.

The office handles large amounts of federal, state and institutional aid. Between 2013 and 2014, the office had awarded about $122 million in financial aid. Of the $122 million, this included more than $10 million in scholarships to Eastern students.

“There is a little sign in the ground out front that says ‘Student Service Building,’ nothing says ‘Financial Aid,’” Waldmann said. “We just wanted to be more visible.”

Waldmann said the addition of the sign is a small part of the remodeling process that the Student Services Building will be undergoing as soon as this spring.  Waldmann said the process will include finishing up an entry door on the south side of the building, as well as the renovation of the elevator in an effort to make the building more handicap accessible.  Improving the plumbing of the building is also in the renovation plans.

The building has needed renovation in order to comply with the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which calls for buildings to be handicap accessible.

“The plan to renovate and making the building more ADA assessable has been in the works for a number of years, and it is something that we have to do,” Waldmann said.

Although it may be too early to tell if the name change and the new sign has helped inform students as to where the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships is located at, Waldmann said is optimistic that these changes will benefit the students and visitors of the campus in the long run.

“We feel better that we have changed (the office’s) name and acknowledged that scholarships are here and put a sign on the building,” Waldmann said.

Derrin Coad can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].