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Profiles in Financial Aid: Stephanie Covington from University of Kansas

November 28, 2012

Stephanie Covington, Associate Director of Financial Aid, University of Kansas

Stephanie Covington’s career has taken her from the admissions office to a women’s resource center and career planning and placement center, to a job placement center, back to admissions and academic advising and finally to financial aid. And students at the University of Kansas should be thankful that she is their Associate Director of Financial Aid and Scholarships because of her customer focused attitude. “We are here for the students and I like knowing that the work I do directly impacts them,” says Stephanie, who also serves as President of KASFAA (Kansas).

A Hutchinson, KS native, Stephanie and her husband have two children, Holly-8 and Drew-11. “My children are very involved in activities. I spend a lot of my spare time at sporting events. Of course my favorite teams are those in which my son or daughter is a member, but I am also a big fan of Sporting KC and the KU Men’s basketball team. My daughter and I enjoy making scrapbooks.”

There have been many changes in financial aid in her 16 years in the profession. “I remember the days of folding award letters and promissory notes and I am sure happy that everything is online now,” she notes. “We’ve seen ACG and SMART come and go. Loan limits have increased, interest rates have gone up and down, TEACH and Grad PLUS were introduced…the list goes on and on.”

Stephanie understands the intent of the SAP regulations but would let academic departments monitor the GPA if given the opportunity. “It is difficult to have conversations with students who are losing their aid, but are being allowed to stay at the institution. Eventually, the students who aren’t doing well will be dismissed.”

She is a first generation college student and remembers making many of the mistakes that today’s students make. “I was one of those prospective students who showed up at the admission’s office without an appointment and a late FASFA filer,” she admits. A friendly and caring admissions counselor at Fort Hays State University (KS) impacted her decision to enroll at that school. “It’s amazing how Student Services’ professionals can impact a student,” she says. “I started working in the admissions office my sophomore year of college and soon became hooked on helping students, deciding that I wanted to do that as a career.”

Stephanie is proud that the University of Kansas Financial Aid Office does a great job keeping up with policies and procedures! “We’re committed to providing quality service while maintaining equality and accountability in the administration of funds.”

Stephanie loves all movies that involve overcoming adversity to meet goals which is probably why Rudy is one of her favorite movies. And when she’s not reading regulations, she finds herself reading children’s books with her daughter. She adds “I have recently started reading some mystery novels and although it’s bad for me, I like reality TV!”

Can you image a dinner table that included Hillary Clinton and Oprah? If given the chance, Stephanie would invite both of them to dinner and believes they would be very interesting to talk to. “And I’d also invite Jimmy Neilson (Sporting KC goalie) because he’s my children’s favorite player. He can entertain the kiddos while I have a nice discussion with Hillary and Oprah.”

The financial aid profession is filled with individuals who continually provide support for each other. Stephanie notes that there have been lots of great financial aid colleagues that she has met through KASFAA and knows she can call on them for assistance. And she gives special credit to her current supervisor. “Brenda Maigaard has been my supervisor for many years and is a good mentor. A lot of things change in the world of financial aid and it helps that she has a positive attitude and calm demeanor.”

Stephanie fondly remembers her days living in San Diego and loves Sea World, the zoo, hanging out on Coronado Island (where she used lived) and going to the beach. Throw in a visit to her favorite restaurant the Kansas City Barbeque, and she is one happy lady. Her passion for her job is evident as she adds, “I also enjoy working at Orientation because of the excitement surrounding becoming a first time college student.”

Rock Chalk Jayhawk.

 

Don Buehrer, Regional Director, Nelnet Partner Solutions

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