Financial aid hits the small screen
The UH Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid aims to reduce the number of problems students face when trying to pay for college with the launch of its new Financial Aid TV program.
Assistant Director of Customer Service Janette Carson said she and her staff decided to pilot the program after seeing its success at colleges around the country.
"Our goal in financial aid is to help finance students in any way we can, and to ensure that we communicate with them effectively," Carson said. "Financial Aid TV provides us with a different avenue of communication that we hope students will respond well to."
Financial Aid TV, which launched Feb. 15, can be accessed at www.uh.edu/finaidtv.
Developed by California-based College Media Solutions, Financial Aid TV provides students with access to streaming videos with information on everything from applying for scholarships and loans to instructions on how to fill out federal student aid forms and apply for the Federal Work Study Program.
Carson said the videos will benefit students who need fast and reliable answers to their financial questions without facing long lines and endless phone calls.
"I believe this program is a very worthy investment, and the University has been extremely supportive of our efforts," Carson said. "Our staff is very passionate and committed to making sure that this program succeeds."
As the first university in Texas to implement the program, UH has been able to customize the system to fit the needs of the University. While many of the videos are generic, UH is making the entire program available in Spanish, and will also offer information on how undocumented students can receive financial aid through the Texas Application for State Financial Aid.
"We have to do whatever we can to keep our students here at the University happy and well-informed," Carson said.
Business management junior Sally Marsi said she sees Financial Aid TV as something positive for the University, though she wonders if the videos will be detailed enough to fit each individual student’s financial needs.
"I think the program is a good way to get information out to students, but I feel like a lot of financial aid questions have to be answered on an individual basis," Marsi said.
In addition to UH students, Financial Aid TV is also geared to help high school students find ways to pay for college, and even offers tips on the best way to go about writing scholarship essays.
"Hopefully, we will get a positive response about the program from our students, and get the attention of those hoping to come to UH," Carson said.