RUSVM COMS: How does the RUSVM Financial Aid Team assist students and colleagues at RUSVM?
Our campus two-member team assists our students in several ways. We provide a two-hour financial literacy workshop in the Veterinary Professional Foundations Course for 1st semester students, and a 1-hour financial aid presentation for Vet Prep students. We provide individual and group consultations in budgeting and understanding loan repayment.
In addition to workshops, we also assist students in the three-phase financial aid process. This includes sending out notice reminders to complete requirements for aid and aid applications, and helping students navigate government websites. We liaise with the Student Finance Department in New Jersey to troubleshoot financial aid issues.
As for our colleagues, we collaborate on processes and projects that will enhance the student experience. These projects include improving the new-student orientation program and educating colleagues to help them provide answers to students, who in turn can use this information to make informed financial decisions.
RUSVM COMS: Why is financial health important for students?
It is imperative that students be cognizant of behaviors today that are necessary for good financial health tomorrow. Positive behaviors include planning for the future, minimizing borrowing, and budgeting, minimizing bad debt like credit card debt, making on-time payments, and improving and/or maintaining good credit rating. Not paying attention to behaviors that can lead to good financial health can eventually impact one’s physical, emotional, and psychological health brought on by stress and worry.
RUSVM COMS: What can new students do to start off on the right foot financially?
We encourage new students to borrow and spend wisely. This can be achieved by budgeting and sticking to that budget, exploring other options for financing, and minimizing bad debt.
RUSVM COMS: Every department does some work “behind the scenes.” What’s one thing you do for the campus that not many students or colleagues are aware of?
We help improve the new student orientation program, and often provide fresh eyes to help arrive at practical solutions for other departments.
RUSVM COMS: Is there one thing students and colleagues can do to make your jobs easier?
One thing that students can do to make our jobs easier is to direct questions to the Financial Aid team instead of making financial aid decisions based on what they heard through the grapevine. Most times, they eventually seek our services to undo those decisions. In this regard, they do not always meet with success.
RUSVM COMS: What is the most common problem you are asked to solve?
Our aim is to ensure that students have a memorable experience that aids them on their path to success. We spend a significant amount of time teaching and helping students prepare budgets, and understand the jargon regarding borrowing and repaying loans. This is the main reason why we are the face of the Student Finance Department for our vet students.