New people in financial aid want to help

The financial aid department has recently undergone several staff changes.

The new director of financial aid, Lauren Pizzo, replaces Anna Reese and was promoted on March 23.

Andrea Stalter has become the new counselor of financial aid and student employment.

She said her goal is to break down the reputation the financial aid office holds in many students’ minds of being uncaring and unhelpful by showing the students how available and competent they truly are.

Pizzo, who has worked in financial aid for over 16 years, has been working since her promotion to revolutionize the office.

“I hope you will notice that this is a more pleasant place to be,” she said. “We are hoping to wow people.”

Pizzo said she upholds the office by three principles: honesty, respectability and kindness.

She hopes that returning students will be able to see these principles when they go into the office this year.

The office is trying to promote these positive changes by being a staff that is focused on truly helping the students in the most efficient way possible.

This year, the office has added an extensive binder of information on outside scholarships so that students can come into the office and research other means of paying tuition.

Pizzo encourages students to come into the office and talk to the staff about their financial problems or issues.

“Our heart is in the right place; our staff is so knowledgeable and friendly,” she said.

Douglas Pagenkopf, financial aid administrative assistant, is most likely the face most students interact with each day. He hopes students will no longer come to the office with trepidation but with understanding.

On his slowest day, Pagenkopf serves about 35 students, but that number can and often does reach as high as 80 students. This might explain why it so often seems that the office is slow or unavailable.

Alongside the financial aid office, and conveniently in the same building, is the student accounts office.

The convenience of having both financial aid and students accounts in the same building is very often overlooked.

“Eastern has a really good set-up,” Carol Suter, an Eastern graduate and employee of the student accounts office, said. “Other campuses offices are separate. Since we share a building we work closely together and are better able to help the students.”

Suter highly praises the financial aid office for all their hard work and the changes they are making this year.

“They have done a great job, efficient, their turn-around time is amazing,” said Suter. “The whole office is doing a great job serving the students to the best of their abilities.”

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