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Profiles in the Financial Aid Profession: Tierra Smith, University of Tampa

October 6, 2010

Tierra Smith, Assistant Director of Student Financial Assistance, University of Tampa

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

Tierra Smith: I am very proud of the customer service that we provide to our students and parents. We are great!

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

Tierra: Trying to implement the regulatory changes that seemed to have come up all at once.

Kristi:  Do you have any tips for schools that are transitioning to Direct Lending (or what has been helpful to you as you transition)?

Tierra: Keep an open mind and utilize the resources that COD provides; they have been very helpful.

Kristi: Who within the financial aid community has been your mentor?

Tierra:  Laura Selvey, my previous boss at Southwest Florida College, has been a wonderful mentor.

Kristi: When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Tierra:  I wanted to be a lawyer.

Kristi: What do you like most about your job?

Tierra:  I enjoy working with the students and parents.  I would never want that aspect of my job to go away.  I love the rewarding feeling I get from seeing the students graduate.

Kristi: What is your favorite food?

Tierra: My favorite food is spaghetti.

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

Tierra: When I drive to and from work, I ride in silence because that is the only time that I am by myself.

Kristi: What is your favorite television show?

Tierra: I love “The Office” and “Law and Order.”

Kristi: What positions have you held within the industry?

Tierra: I am the head of the Diversity Committee for FASFAA and also a member of the Scholarship Committee.

Kristi: Where did you work prior to the University of Tampa?

Tierra: Prior to working at University of Tampa, I worked at Southwest Florida College.

Kristi Jones, Southern Regional Director (AL, FL, GA, MS, PR)

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