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Profiles in the Financial Aid Profession: Becky and Marcus Wilson, Texas Tech University

May 24, 2010

There are only a few couples who both work in the financial aid industry. Becky Wilson, Managing Director of Financial Aid at Texas Tech University, and Marcus Wilson, Managing Director of Financial Aid at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, are one of those couples. Between them they have more than 48 years of financial aid experience. Adding to the family legacy, daughter, Tia Clary, served as Director of Financial Aid at Lubbock Christian University before being named the school’s Vice President of Financial Affairs. 

Don Buehrer, Nelnet’s Regional Director in Texas, conducted the following interview. 

Becky and Marcus Wilson enjoying time with their grandchildren.

  

Don: What are the pros and cons of being in the same profession? 

Becky: I can offer bits of advice to Marcus, which he ever so graciously accepts and knows I’m right. 

Marcus: Of course, I agree with her answer. 

Both agreed that working in the same profession has allowed them to travel together and better understand their “work” conversations. They do discuss financial aid issues and resolutions, but they try not to let it be all-consuming. They would prefer to spend their “down” time with their five grandchildren. 

Don: What are you most proud of with your financial aid office? 

Becky: Even through computer conversion and financial aid program changes, our staff has remained positive and customer service oriented. 

Marcus: Our staff is the best in the business.  Our students are mainly graduate/professional, and we work hard to serve them as such. 

Don: What has been the biggest challenge for your office over the past 12 months? 

Becky: Our biggest challenge has been the computer system conversion which changed all financial aid processes. This, along with the move to Direct Lending and Year-Round Pell, has created multiple opportunities and challenges. 

Marcus: Our school faces similar challenges as Texas Tech. These challenges overlapped and were somewhat combined due to the timing of legislation and the software releases by our vendor.  All parties responded very well, but the regulatory mandates did not allow for much lead time. 

Don: Are there any primary or coming trends that you see in the financial aid office? 

Becky: The trend we see for financial aid offices is that processes must become more automated to accommodate for multi-faceted aid eligibility program requirements. This will hopefully allow additional time for outreach to families, students, institutional departments, and the community concerning financial aid. 

Marcus: My first guess, things may be a bit more stable for a little while. New processes have been implemented for the challenges noted above and we now need time to identify efficiencies and workflows. 

Don: Do you have any tips for schools that are transitioning to Direct Lending?  

Becky: The most helpful tip, from our perspective, was to begin early, communicate with upper administration concerning the timetable for implementation, and test, test, test. 

Marcus: Prepare for the worst and pray for the best. Anticipate that things will not be perfect at first, no matter how much you have prepared. Something always gets overlooked, but eventually, you will get there.  The second round of disbursements are much smoother than the first.  Yes, the old dog can learn new tricks. 

Don: Where do you think schools should focus their efforts with regard to default prevention strategies given the industry’s move to a 3-year CDR model? 

Becky:  I think schools need to establish a loan default team whose primary responsibility is to seek out and implement best practices concerning default prevention. 

Marcus: I believe the focus still needs to begin with smart borrowing. 

Don: What do you like most about your job? 

Becky: Making an intentional difference…not just for students and parents but for staff members and departments on campus as well! 

Marcus: The daily challenge, the fantastic people, and helping people reach their educational dreams. 

Don: What is your favorite book, movie, TV show, food? 

Becky: Book: Dear John. Movie: You’ve Got Mail. TV show: Biggest Loser. Food: Mexican. 

Marcus: Favorite authors are Tom Clancy, Dan Brown, James Patterson, Stephen Frey ,and Jack Higgins. Favorite movie: Christmas Vacation. Favorite TV shows: Triple D, Pawn Stars, Modern Marvels, How It’s Made, Myth Busters and Sponge Bob (with the grandkids). Food: Yes!!! (Mexican, Italian, American, Chinese, Japanese, German, etc.) 

Don: Name one thing that many people do not know about you. 

Becky: Many people still don’t know that Tia Clary is my daughter. 

Marcus: I am shy. 

Don Buehrer, Regional Director for Texas

3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 27, 2010 3:07 pm

    Very awesome writing! Honest..

  2. October 31, 2010 9:36 pm

    the novel of Dan Brown are all great works, i specially love Angels and Demons ”

  3. Pat (Jost) Sewell permalink
    March 22, 2012 6:03 pm

    This is too cool! The best things is life never change Becky and Marcus are 2 of them.

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