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Profiles in the Financial Aid Profession: Cathy Crawley from Georgia College & State University

March 7, 2012

Cathy Crawley, Director of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships, Georgia College and State University

Kristi Jones:  How long have you been at Georgia College?

Cathy Crawley:  I started at Georgia College in 1990, so it has been 21 ½ years.

Kristi:  How many staff do you have in your office?

Cathy:  Including myself, we have 7.  We are in the process of hiring for a new position.

Kristi:  You have a beautiful campus and always seem to meet your maximum enrollment goals.  What sets you apart from other schools in Georgia?

Cathy:   We are designated as Georgia’s public liberal arts university.  We can offer what small private schools do, but at a much lower cost.  We are also very hands on with our students, which a lot of public schools are not able to do.

Kristi: What challenges are you currently facing regarding financial aid? 

Cathy:  Our biggest challenge is the fact that our applications continue to increase significantly, but our staff has not increased.  With regulations changing constantly and our administrative responsibilities, it is hard to keep up with the work load.  We are adding an additional position to the financial aid team, and I am hopeful that this will help resolve some of these challenges.

Kristi: You have served in several positions within the GASFAA Executive board (Training Chair last year and Newsletter this year), what are your plans for the upcoming year?

Cathy:  I will continue to be an active member in the association and serve in any position that the board thinks I will bring value.

Kristi:  Do you find that you have more spare time, now that both of your boys are away in college? 

Cathy:  Absolutely.  They were both very involved in sports, and I spent a lot of time at the ball fields throughout the years.

Kristi:  What do you like to do in your spare time?

Cathy:  I love to get new ideas on Pinterest.  I also enjoy going to antique shops and flea markets in order to redo rooms around the house.  I just redid my son’s bedroom in an art deco theme.

Kristi:  What is the key to raising two successful boys?

Cathy:  I don’t know that I have done that; time will tell.  I always tried to keep them focused on their goals, but also gave them enough freedom to make their own choices and occasionally their own mistakes.  I have always been by their side and available to listen.

Kristi:  If there was one thing that Nelnet could to do to help make things easier with the Direct Loan process, what would it be? 

Cathy:  If the servicers could continue to help with communication to borrowers and simplifying the payment process, this would be extremely beneficial.  When we receive our draft CDR, we go out to NSLDS and work every borrower on the list.  We are noticing that the majority of borrowers that are in default are those with both a DL and FFELP/Commercial loan.  These borrowers are confused and not aware that they need to make payments on both loans.  Nelnet can help provide simple instructions on how to pay both loan types.

Kristi:  You recently created a newsletter for your students.  Has it been successful?

Cathy:  We are very pleased with its success.  We developed the newsletter three months ago and have received glowing emails from both parents and students.  We call it The SPIN, which stands for Student & Parent Information Network.  Our goal is for the newsletter to be eye-candy for our readers with lots of color and easy to understand.  Our first article contained Urban Legends about the HOPE Scholarship.  We have table tents set up in the student café as a teaser, encouraging students to view our newsletter online.

Kristi Jones, Southern Regional Director, Nelnet Partner Solutions


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