Financial aid office serves students

Staff Writer

If you find yourself seeking help with financial problems, the first place you should visit is the staff with the expertise in financial questions

If you say the word “college,” for most people, the first thought that comes to mind is “expensive.” College is an investment, and financial aid is a must for most students.
Thankfully, the Financial Aid Office provides many opportunities for students to receive help with education costs. Types of aid include scholarships, grants, loans, work-study programs and federal funding for veterans such as the Montgomery GI Bill and Yellow Ribbon Program.
“Don’t be afraid to come in and ask questions,” said Teresa Rhyne, director of the Financial Aid Office. “We’re here to help students navigate the financial aid web.”
Assisting Rhyne in the Financial Aid Office are Assistant to the Director of Financial Aid and Veterans Affairs Certifying Official Melanie Monk, Loan Processor and Financial Aid Counselor Betsy Payne and Financial Aid Counselor Christy Price-Townsend.
“Customer service is key,” said Monk. “We’re the type of staff who will go the extra mile.”
Monk is available to answer questions regarding veteran benefits and ensures that each veteran using these benefits is certified with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs in a timely manner so that these students receive appropriate funding.
“I try to be personable with students and make it a point to help them understand as well as feel comfortable,” said Monk. “I know how intimidating financial aid can be, especially as a freshman.”
Financial Aid Counselors Betsy Payne and Christy Price-Townsend assist students with financial aid avenues such as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which provides more than $150 billion in student funds annually, according to the Federal Student Aid website.
Once a student has completed the FAFSA, he or she may be eligible for federal, state and institutional awards that can help offset financial burden.
“It’s important not to wait too long,” Rhyne said. “It’s hard to get things done if you wait until the last minute because funding runs out.”
Students who receive financial aid are expected to read the Financial Aid Handbook available in the Financial Aid Office, and they must sign a formal award letter in order to receive funding.
“We try to help them understand what they’re signing, but at the end of the day, it’s their responsibility,” said Monk.
In addition to awards available through the FAFSA, students can apply for scholarships offered through organizations outside of VWC. Each week, the Financial Aid Office sends an e-mail to all VWC students with information about a featured scholarship. Any student can apply for the Scholarship of the Week.
Paying for college can be a burden, but through the Financial Aid Office, students have access to valuable resources that can make affording college a reality.