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Profiles in the Financial Aid Profession: Donna Carter from Wichita State University

November 16, 2011

Donna Carter, Associate Director of Financial Aid, Wichita State University

Does this sound familiar? Student has a work study job in the financial aid office. Student loves job. Student becomes a full time employee in the financial aid office. Employee makes financial aid their long-time profession.

Such is the case with Donna Carter,  Associate Director of Financial Aid at Wichita State University (KS). Fifteen years later, Donna finds herself as President of KASFAA, after serving the association as Vice President, Treasurer, and as a member of several committees.

Don Buehrer: How did you select financial aid as your profession?

Donna Carter: I was a work study student in the library at Fort Hays State University and really did not like the job, so I went to the work study coordinator and asked for a job change.  I was then hired by the financial aid office and have been in the profession ever since.

Don: What major changes have you seen in financial aid during your years in the industry? 

Donna:  The increase in the number of students that apply for federal aid and the staffing that it takes to process all the applications are major changes.  When I started at WSU in the fall of 1993, our staff size was 11. Now our staff size is 21!  

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

Donna:  Current TV show – House & CSI.  Books – Kaye Scarpetta novels by Patricia Cornwell, Women’s Murder Club novels by James Patterson, and Prey novels by John Sandford. 

Don:  What is the most enjoyable part of your job?

Donna: Helping students and their families realize that they can afford to attend Wichita State University.  Also, I have co-workers that really care about helping students attend WSU.

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

Donna: My husband Jeff and I share the same birthday.

Don: What has been your biggest challenge work-wise over the past 12 months?

Donna: WSU’s loan counselor took a job with the Department of Education, so I had to take over the job duties for about 9 months.  I thought I had a pretty good idea what to do, but it was a challenge. I learned a lot about Direct Loan processing in Banner and am very thankful that we are now in the second year of Direct Lending.

Don:  How do you spend your time when you’re not working?

Donna:  Spending time with my husband Jeff and our 2 dogs – Buddy and Tiggy.  I like to garden – we have many different flower beds at our home and like to grow peppers and tomatoes.

Don: If you could invite any three people to dinner, who would they be?

Donna:  I would like to have dinner with my friend Suzanne and my grandparents. They have all passed away. I would  love to see them one more time.

Don: Do you have a favorite childhood holiday memory?

Donna: Keep in mind that I was 5 when this happened. We were on our way home from Easter Sunday services, and I saw a rabbit in our yard. I was very excited! I just knew that the Easter bunny had visited our home.

Don Buehrer, Regional Director

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