The financial aid office can be an intimidating place for students. The thought of loans, tuition and fees can make some students avoid it all together, but they should know the benefits of getting to know the financial aid staff.
Cathy Kessler is the face of the office and helps students year around with finance issues. “I like working with students,” she said. “I try to make them happy.”
Cathy started her career at Heidelberg in the admission office as the tour guide coordinator, but she always had an interest in financial aid. “I wanted to know how the loan process worked,” she said. She moved to the financial aid office and has spent over 20 years there as the Loan Specialist and Administrative Assistant.
“I’m very open about we can do for students,” she said. When the office exhausts their own resources, she helps students find other outside avenues and opportunities. She works with students and parents on issues of credit, how to pay bills, and what loans they can/should take.
Cathy works with loan companies year round helping secure funds for students and making sure the process is smooth. The loan process can be complicated so Cathy is always available to help students. “If they need help, I sit right at the computer with them,” she said.
Not commonly known is the ability of the financial aid office to help students find employment. Local businesses often call their office looking for students and Cathy will call students who she knows are looking for jobs. The office also handles work study funds, so students can come to ask questions about what funds they have left, how many hours they can work and what jobs are available.
“Lots of students are afraid to talk to us,” she said. “Some don’t even know they can come in and ask us questions.” With finances being so important, more students should consider getting to know the financial aid office. They’ll discover it’s not such an intimidating place after all.