Friday, August 11, 2017

Summer's end is just the beginning for Student Financial Services

August: it’s the end of summer, the last chance to get all the things on your summer ‘to do’ list checked off before school starts. For those of us in academia, it’s the beginning of a fresh new year, a new start.

For Student Financial Services, it’s the season of questions. Between now and August 25th, the office’s phone lines, email inboxes, and lobby will be buzzing with questions from students and parents – questions about financial aid, paying bills, and much more.

 As the SFS team wraps up its participation in 10 Summer Orientation Sessions, where they host a “Money Matters” talk attended mostly by parents, they’ll be ramping up their customer service coverage to make sure the multitude of student and parent concerns are properly and promptly addressed.

At the Money Matters sessions, SFS Communications Manager Chris Doran says the message to parents is simple: Our goal is the same as yours – we want your student to be successful at UVA.

Between now and the end of the first week of classes, that goal will guide ten full-time SFS staffers in the call center and at the front desk (plus numerous other SFS staffers who will pitch in) as they focus on direct customer service to new UVA students and their parents.

“It’s all hands on deck during this time,” Doran said.

Doran says SFS will answer many “frequently asked” student and parent questions in the next couple of weeks: how do I use my 529 college savings plan to pay? How do I use my Veteran’s Administration benefits to pay tuition? How do we incorporate outside scholarships? How does my student pay at laundry facilities? How do I charge items at the bookstore?

Many of the questions SFS staffers get won’t actually come under SFS’s purview, said Doran.

“Because we have the word ‘finance’ in our name, pretty much everything under the sun comes to us,” he said.

Fortunately, SFS staffers are willing and able to answer those questions as well, explaining questions about credit hours and tuition, and referring students to their academic offices as needed.

The days will be long and busy for SFS staffers during this time, but it’s all worth it.

Jenn Bari, who manages the SFS Contact Center, said, “We don’t mind answering the questions and helping students to understand their finances. We have the opportunity every day to impact students’ lives and to help them succeed.”

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