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Profiles in the Financial Aid Profession: Heloise Mata from Heald College

January 5, 2012

Heloise Mata, Director of Financial Aid, Heald College

I was waiting at the front desk for Heloise Mata, Director of Financial Aid, when she briskly walked in rushing from her last meeting to the next. Heloise is a bundle of energy and has been a fixture at this campus for 16 years. In fact, she’s a graduate of Heald College, and like a lot of us, began as a work-study student. I really enjoyed our chat, and I had the wonderful opportunity to meet with her entire team. I want to extend a huge thank you to them for the warm reception.

Jon Potter: What are you most proud of with your financial aid office in the last twelve months?

Heloise Mata: Customer Service. We have an open door policy and students don’t need to schedule an appointment. We have extended hours during the week allowing students to come see us when it’s convenient for them. We’re also open on the weekends, as we now offer classes on the weekends.

Jon: Who in the Financial Aid community has been your mentor?

Heloise: Maria Embry, our campus President. She was once a student here, and over the years has been promoted to campus President. She taught me the management skills I use today.

Jon: Where do you think schools should focus their efforts given the move to a 3-year CDR model?

Heloise: We monitor our students and make sure they understand their rights and responsibilities. Our process here at Heald requires us to contact our students in the beginning, during their time here, and before they graduate. In addition to my team here in the office, we collaborate with our corporate office to offer guidance regarding forbearances, deferments, and anything else they need.

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

Heloise: I’ve always wanted to be an Interior Designer.

Jon: What do you enjoy most about your job?

Heloise: Meeting with students and their families, and helping them through the financial aid process. I came from a Third World country (Philippines) and recognize this to be the land of opportunity. We always tell our students, “There is no price on education.” It’s also very fulfilling to see our students graduate.

Jon: What is your passion outside of work?

Heloise: Every year we travel abroad and have visited many Asian countries including Thailand and Malaysia. We’re now trying to expand our travel opportunities and go to different places.

Jon: Name one thing people don’t know about you.

Heloise: I love to paint. I took classes in high school and paint when I can. I really love art!

Jon: What’s your favorite television show?

Heloise: I really don’t have much time to watch TV during the week due to my work schedule. I catch old reruns of Frasier when I can.

Jon: What advice can you offer a new Administrator?

Heloise: Keep an open mind, as every student has different circumstances. Take the time to learn the regulations, as this is VERY important! Always know that you’re helping someone change his or her life…

Jon Potter, Western Regional Director (CA)

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