New team to help students with financial troubles

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New team to help students with financial troubles

Maddie Nolan, Staff Writer

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Students who are struggling with finances are now able to get more help from the university.

The Financial Care Team is a new service provided by the university, offering financial relief for students struggling to pay their tuition bills even after taking loans and receiving scholarships due to reasons beyond their control. 

The team assists students who may currently have a zero balance, but are unsure of how they will pay for next year or semester. It consists of several offices who work together to figure out the best way to help students and provide them with necessary resources.

 Their main focus is on students who have stopped receiving assistance from their family or can no longer pay as much due to unemployment, health problems, a family loss, loss of scholarship or financial aid or any other variety of circumstances that put a hinder on finances. 

They also refer students who can no longer afford necessities such as food, housing, clothing or health care to services such as Archie’s closet in the Recreation, Fitness and Wellness Center, which serves as a food pantry for USI students, faculty and staff. 

“The idea is to promote financial wellness,” said Assistant Bursar Emily Henson, who works for the Bursar’s office and is involved a part of the financial care team.

 While the team does not give students money or pay their outstanding balances, they instead lead them to additional resources such as university employment, additional financial aid, resume writing resources, degree planning and budgeting help. 

These benefits can help students obtain a job on campus, or complete a resume for an off-campus job. Some recipients may receive additional financial aid if they file again, or auxiliary scholarships to help them. 

“We understand that things can happen during college that are out of students’ control,” Henson said. “Plans change.”

Henson said students that experience sudden changes in their financial situation due to divorce, medical issues or loss of financial aid or scholarships are encouraged to use this service. The referral link is located on the university website

All students have to do is click “make a referral now,” fill out basic personal information and provide their reason for need as well as documentation to support it. Faculty, academic advisers and parents can also refer students. 

Henson said this service is beneficial to all students because it reduces the cost of tuition and fees due to others not being able to pay their outstanding balances. Fees that go unpaid result in less funding for financial aid and tuition or fee increases are needed in order to pay for these. 

“We don’t want students to feel that they’re suffering alone,” she said. “The purpose of the Financial Care Team is to help them get their education. We don’t want students to struggle alone and feel like they don’t have another option.” 

Students who still have questions about their financial aid are encouraged to speak to the Student Financial Assistance Office, as well as the Bursar’s Office for questions regarding billing statements and payment plans. 

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