I would like to thank The Miami Hurricane for highlighting some of the challenges and complexities associated with the financial aid process. As UM continues to prioritize allocating financial aid to those students with the greatest financial need, it is necessary to complete a thorough analysis of a student’s financial need. This requires collecting detailed information via the College Board Scholarship Service (CSS) Profile, Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and associated income and asset documentation. The financial aid application deadline for continuing students is April 15. In some cases, additional information may be verified at a later date, such as housing status or the number in college.
Annual changes in income or assets, housing status, changes in the household size, or the number of people in college will have an impact on financial aid eligibility from year to year. Financial aid eligibility is allocated based on the information provided by the family. If information is received that indicates that the original information is not correct, a financial aid advisor will assess the new or additional information and make adjustments to a student’s financial aid eligibility.
During the 2015-16 academic year, the Office of Student Financial Assistance and Employment (OSFAE) met over 99 percent of all demonstrated financial need for the eligible students. In addition, student debt for the graduating 2015 class was reduced by $7,000. In order to provide greater levels of student service and educate students on the importance of financial literacy, OSFAE implemented the Fiscal Fitness (http://www.miami.edu/admission/index.php/ofas/fiscal_fitness_program/) program. And, finally, telephone support was extended to 6 p.m. from Tuesday through Thursday.
To further enhance student service, the Office has begun working with SGA to create a student advisory group. The Office has initiated conversations with the Division of Student Affairs to create a financial aid forum where students can learn more about new initiatives in financial aid.
In the end, it is our goal to work with students such that they attain their hopes and dreams of attaining a UM degree. Our team will continue to work to make these dreams become a reality.
Raymond Nault Hix
Office of Student Financial Assistance and Employment