Friday, April 7, 2017

Financial Aid and Days on the Lawn: SFS partners with Admissions to answer student questions

For over 25 years, spring at UVA has been marked by the arrival of admitted students, parents in tow, ready to take part in UVA’s annual “Days on the Lawn” open house event. 

Days on the Lawn (DOTL) offers students a chance to spend a full day on Grounds, interacting with current students, checking out informational sessions and tours at each school, attending a resource fair, and going on residence hall tours.  It’s a great opportunity for admitted students to make their final decisions about whether or not UVA is right for them.

One important factor in that decision is, of course, financial aid, and that’s why Student Financial Services partners with UVA Admissions to offer both general information and one-on-one sessions with students and parents while they’re visiting UVA.

Each year, SFS staff cross check the list of RSVPs to DOTL with their records, and send an invitation to those who may have questions about their financial aid award or who haven’t yet completed their application for financial aid to come talk to an SFS counselor while they’re on Grounds. 

Scott Miller, Director of Student Financial Aid, says the sessions serve a practical purpose. 

“Our counselors can help make sure students get the aid they need.  We help them know what they can get and help them make an informed decision on what they can afford,” he said.

Students visit tables at the Resource Fair associated with DOTL
“The best part is, we help them solve any problems and get them the answers they need before official decision deadlines.”

DOTL 2017 spans six dates, from March 20 to April 17.  For each of those dates, SFS staff show up to staff a table at the resource fair, host a daily Parents’ Forum, and, of course, to counsel students and parents in those one-on-one sessions. 

SFS Communications Manager Chris Doran says that for each DOTL date, about a third of the invited families will attend the counseling sessions. 

“Some days are busier than others,” Doran said; “our traffic depends on how popular that particular Days on the Lawn date has been.”  

With three dates left in this year’s DOTL schedule, SFS counselors have already met with over 100  students and  their parents.

Jenn Bari, Contact Center Manager in SFS, checks students in
for one-on-one sessions with financial aid counselors.
Prospective student Samiha Mohammed and her mother talked with a counselor during the April 3 session.  Both she and her mother agree the interaction was valuable. 

“I didn’t know that I had made an error on my financial aid application, but the counselor noticed, and he also explained interest rates, and the difference between subsidized and unsubsidized loans,” she said.

Mohammed is planning on studying Computer Science, and says the session was vital to her final decision.  “It definitely helped.”

No comments: