You Can Stand Under My Student Affairs Umbrella

In this profession there are several types of jobs one can have that fall under the umbrella of Student Affairs. Some of the standards departments include Housing and Residence Life, Student Life, Career Services, and Admissions as examples. Financial Aid is not always a department that comes to mind when choosing an occupation within Student Affairs. Is this because it doesn’t fall under the umbrella of SA? The majority of my experience in this field as an undergraduate student came from working in the Financial Aid office. Did you like this time with Financial Aid, is that why you continued? Luckily, my graduate program offered an assistantship in Financial Aid. During that experience, I was able to strengthen my skills, which allowed me to find an amazing job as a new professional.

Fortunately at Ivy Tech Community College, Financial Aid does fall under the realm of Student Affairs. We are given professional development opportunities with the rest of the Student Affairs professionals. I love this opportunity and am grateful to be surrounded by others who want to support students. I am a strong advocate for Financial Aid being a part of the Student Affairs division. I fully support and encourage the development of students, just as my other non-Financial Aid colleagues do. In my day-to-day work, I normally speak to students one or two times and will never see them again. If I see a student more than a couple of times, it is usually not a positive conversation. In my office, students normally do not visit for fun. They want to check on their aid or ask a question and leave immediately! I do not have the luxury of seeing the same students everyday and getting to track their progression and development. People who are not in Financial Aid typically say that I am crazy for loving this type of work. However, I view it as the best way to serve students. Without Financial Aid many students would not have the opportunity or access to higher education. Students who use financial aid are often from low-income families, have limited family support, are single parents, or are even graduate students receiving some type of assistance in order to pursue their dreams of a college education. Although there are regulations that some find frustrating or those they simply do not understand, they are in place to better serve students. It is my opinion that some of these rules are there to help aid student development and growth. It will help students learn from their past mistakes and make better informed decisions in the future.

Now, I will come down off of my soapbox! It is obvious that I love Student Affairs and Financial Aid. I am so excited for the upcoming NASPA annual conference. I will get to learn more about this field of work from other amazing professionals. I look forward to meeting new people and seeing old friends. I hope to see you in Phoenix!

Amber Phillips

Student Affairs - the First Years

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