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Profiles in the Financial Aid Profession: Erin Amsberry from Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa

February 7, 2011

Erin Amsberry, Financial Aid Counselor at Wartburg College

Pam King:  What are you most proud of within the financial aid office at Wartburg College? 

Erin Amsberry:  I have many areas within our office that I am proud of.  I am proud that combined, we have approximately 75 years of financial aid experience among our staff.  I am also proud of the fact that we provide outstanding service to our students and parents.

Pam:  What has been the biggest challenge for the financial aid office at Wartburg over the past 12 months? 

Erin:  While I have only been back in financial aid for just under two months, I believe that our biggest challenge is the amount of detail regarding all of the new regulations and navigating through the Direct Loan process.

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

Erin: Due to the economy, we are afraid that one of the trends we will see is an increase in the default rate across the nation. 

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

Erin:  I have been blessed with many mentors in the financial aid community.  First, my first director at MacMurray College, Rebecca Babel.  Second, my first director at Rockford College Roberta McDevitt.  Third, my former co-worker, Jacquelyn Tresemer, whom I also worked closely with at Rockford College.  Fourth, my former co-worker Stacy Simms, who is still at Rockford College, serving as their loan processor.  Stacy and I have burned up the phone lines quite a few days helping each other trouble shoot.  And last but certainly not least, Renee Miceli, a financial aid colleague down the road at Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa.  Renee was gracious enough to allow me and another co-worker to come down to watch her certify loans and provided us with fabulous notes and handouts.  She’s also been wonderful about answering all of my calls and e-mails regarding Direct Loans.  I joked with her the other day that she must know everything because I haven’t stumped her yet!  J

Pam:  How long have you been working in the financial aid community? 

Erin:  I have been in the financial aid community for almost 14 years prior to starting at Wartburg.  I started out at MacMurray College in Jacksonville, IL and was there for five years; and I was at Rockford College in Rockford, IL for 8 ½ years. 

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

Erin:  One of my new duties at Wartburg is to serve as the financial literacy coordinator.  I plan to do programming both in the classrooms as well as in the dorms, educating our students on the importance of financial literacy and debt prevention.

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

Erin:  My dad is the biggest St. Louis Cardinals fan that you’ll ever meet so my goal when I was a kid was to be the first female manager of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Pam:  What do you like most about your job? 

Erin:  I don’t just like, I LOVE interacting with students and parents.  I am a people person and love meeting new people and being able to help them navigate their way through the financial aid process.

Pam:  What is your favorite book, movie and/or food? 

Erin:  I am an avid reader so my list of favorite books is endless but I guess if I had to pick an absolute favorite, it would be either “Little Women” or “The Glass House”.  I also love movies – mainly comedies and anything with Will Ferrell, Adam Sandler, or Steve Carrell.  As for food, I love to cook so I love food but if I had to pick a favorite, I think I’d have to pick Italian.

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

Erin:  For the first five years I was married, my husband and I lived in a residence hall at MacMurray College.  My husband was a hall director and working his way through graduate school.  We had our first child while we lived there and during that time in our lives, we absolutely loved it.  We swore that after living there, we’d pretty much seen it and heard it all and I think it would be very difficult to shock us.  While we loved it then, there is not enough money in the world to get us to go back to that way of life now.

Pam King, Partner Solutions Strategy and Missouri


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