Skip to content

Profiles in the Financial Aid Profession: Curt Martin, Mesa State College

August 16, 2010

Curt Martin, Director of Financial Aid, Mesa State College

Curt Martin has been the Director of Financial Aid at Mesa State College in Grand Junction, Colorado, since 2003.  He started his career in financial aid as a financial aid counselor at Barnes Business College in Denver in 1984, thinking it would be a temporary thing while he figured out what to do with his life.  Like many others in Colorado higher education, he is a member of Nebraska’s largest export–college graduates. 

Mesa State experienced significant growth during the past year in terms of awarding and administering financial aid.  Total expenditures increased from $38M to $50M.  Mesa State College migrated to the DL program last year. 

Alan Ishida: What do you like most/least about your profession?  

Curt Martin: Some of the things I like most are actually things that, at times, I like least and vice versa.  Of course, working with students can be the most rewarding things, but it is also very frustrating.  Likewise, having to deal with regulations, reports, as well as having to deal with state and federal administrators, can be taxing, but when you can actually bring about a change, it can also be very rewarding. 

Alan: What do you do away from your job?  

Curt: My daughter is a dancer and will be entering high school this year, (Note: Cheerleading is not dancing. Never ask her if she is a cheerleader, or she will rip your arm off.  She may look skinny but is very strong.) so most of my wife’s and my free time is spent attending dance contests, shows, and running her to workshops.  I am also on the Museum of Western Colorado Museum Board and thoroughly enjoy studying history.  I also teach Sunday School to preschoolers.  

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

Curt: LOTS! We have less staff than when I started in 1995, twice as many students, and administer twice as much money.  I love the way they pull together to complete projects and work with other departments.  I am also proud of all of my former employees that have gone on to success in other fields. 

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

Curt: I do not see that the current structure of a financial aid office will last another 3 to 5 years.  Funding for operations is dwindling while demand for services are rising.  The feds and state will dictate more of the awarding process with what is left of state and federal aid, leaving only institutional aid for discretion.  Counseling will be done even more electronically and outsourcing will increase to establish 24/7 service. 

Alan: Do you interact with students who are applying for or who have received loans? 

Curt: Yes, I usually see a dozen or so students a week to discuss loans and overall management of their finances as well as paying for college.  I still get calls and visits from former students if they run into problems.  In a small community it is hard not to run into people. 

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

Curt: I am terrified of heights.  I cannot get on the roof of my one story house to maintain the swamp cooler.  Either a friend or my wife has to do it. 

Alan Ishida - Rocky Mountain/Western Regional Director, Nelnet Partner Solutions (AK, CO, HI, KS, MT, NE, SD, UT)

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: