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Profiles in the Financial Aid Profession: Susan Gross, from The Landing School

August 16, 2013

Meet Susan Gross, Director of Student Services at The Landing School – Boatbuilding and DesignLanding School photo

Imagine working in a financial aid office in Arundel, Maine, a small campus that is focused on modern yacht design, wooden and composite boat building, and marine systems technology.  Susan Gross, Director of Student Services, works at The Landing School, which prepares students for careers in the marine industry.

“Our campus is small, about 75-85 students,” shares Susan.  For the past eight years, Susan has assisted students in fulfilling their educational dreams.

Before starting at The Landing School, Susan Gross was a stay-at-home mom for 17 years.  “I started working at The Landing School in 2005, where I worked one day a week  answering phones and assisting the office manager,” says Susan.  Over the years , the one day a week became full-time.  “It is intimidating in this field, where so many people work for years in financial aid offices and learn from the ground up,” said Susan.

As on many small campuses, student affairs professionals wear many hats.  Susan smiles,  “I not only oversee financial aid, but I am also the Assistant to the President and the Director of Student Services.”

I had to ask Susan if they include a boat in the Cost of Attendance.  Susan laughs, “Sort of – depending on the program.” There are some supplies factored into the cost of attendance.   Susan said,  “In the composites program, they build dinghies and kayaks; at the end of the year, they may be going home with one of their projects.  In our wooden boat-building program, you might build an Acorn Skiff, a Joel White Peapod, or a Flyfisher 22.”

“We are all so proud of being able to help students find a way to come to school, even when money can be an issue,” comments Susan.  “We have a very special community here, and we try to help each student attend. Once they are here, all staff and faculty work hard with each individual student to help them succeed.”

“I love the atmosphere of The Landing School,” says Susan. “Our students all share a love of boating and the marine industry. Right before graduation, the whole school takes the boats out and enjoys a day boating off the coast of Maine.”  What could be better?

Dan Dreves, Northeast Regional Director, Nelnet Partner Solutions

Dan Dreves, Northeast Regional Director, Nelnet Partner Solutions

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