For Schools

Happy National Financial Aid Week!

Articles | October 15, 2018

Happy National Financial Aid Day Week!

Not just on October 17, 2018 but all this week—heck, every day!—we applaud your hard work, commitment, and devotion to making dreams a reality for the students and families with whom you work.

So when we say, “Hat’s off—it’s your day!” on October 17, 2018, we’re not referring to it being Mulligan Day or Four Prunes Day or Love Your Body Day. But if these apply to you, we applaud your best do-overs, your commitment to regularity, and your positive self-image. Each are important in their own way.

But we at Great Lakes know how hard you work. We believe you deserve a standing O this entire week for the work you do on behalf of the millions of students and families you and your colleagues help each year.

Here are our top 5 reasons why a day is not enough to celebrate you.

  1. Working in financial aid is complicated. Like working on Wall Street, working in the financial aid office involves deadline stress, serious compliance, legal, and ethical ramifications, and life-changing impacts on the economic fortunes of many. Can you imagine a movie named “Financial Aid” that could draw one A-list actor, let alone several? Wall Street gets all the glamour, with or without a wolf roaming around.
  2. When has one day ever been enough? Working in financial aid, there are days that feel like weeks and take years off your life, and yet you only accomplish an hour’s worth of the tasks originally on your to-do list. Life in financial aid requires adaptability, responsiveness, time management skills, and the ability to reprioritize. So we say, take the week. Take whatever it takes to get it all done.
  3. Your job requires serious people skills. You have to be able to handle difficult conversations and comply with complicated regulations that may seem counter-intuitive to helping people get ahead in life. You’ve got to exhibit patience in working with young adults who are focused on going to school and often don’t have much prior knowledge of what it takes to pay for school. You’re also vying for campus resources and must be able to work well with admissions, alumni associations, the bursar’s office, and numerous other campus groups.
  4. You need to be analytical. While you probably landed in this area because you care about helping students improve their lives, you also need to be able to know how to analyze data, spot trends, and find your way around in Excel. (It may be no coincidence that this day is also Spreadsheet Day, so have a cupcake on your accomplishments in that area.)
  5. What you do matters. Higher education—whether in the form of a technical degree or certificate or a doctoral degree—offers opportunity for improving one’s life. It takes gigantic effort to help others navigate a complicated system like finding financial aid that helps them accomplish their goals, or to help them understand how to choose an education experience that will benefit them in the long run. You’re a vital part of making education a positive experience for students and families.

Let’s face it. There are many ways to positively influences others around us through our career choices. Working in financial aid may have its challenging moments, but the personal rewards to you and to those you help are huge. Congratulations on your choice of a meaningful career, your hard work and dedication, and your commitment to improving lives. We know how hard you work, and we appreciate you, each and every day.

That’s why we built this website to be a go-to resource for you, as Brett Lindquist explains in our Renola Reports on ScholarNet video. So please, explore helpful how-to blogs like 5 Tips for Working with Stressed Borrowers. If you use our solutions, provide your feedback on how we can improve them. Like your colleagues at LSU or Texas Tech University, share your story with your peers if it can make their lives easier. And if there are other resources we can provide to support you, please don’t hesitate to contact us.