The student association hopes to expand the accessibility of financial aid
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The student association will focus on improving accessibility to financial aid and mental health resources throughout the spring semester.
SA started a initiative last fall to improve communication with the Syracuse University financial aid office. The organization sent out a survey so that students could provide ideas on how to make financial aid resources more accessible.
Students typically experience long wait times and sometimes do not have an answer from the office when they call to ask about their financial aid, SA president Justine Hastings said. This makes it difficult for students to understand their financial aid and how to handle loans and loan repayments, she said.
SA has already started working directly with the management of the financial aid office to implement a student chat box functionality on the office’s website, similar to those used at other colleges such as the University. of Wisconsin.
“(The chat box) will take some time because the university wants to make sure it meets all necessary accessibility requirements,” Hastings said.
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The Financial Aid Office plans to be more transparent with students as a whole and will provide more information on financial opportunities for resident advisers in the future, Hastings said. Upon RA’s request, the office will allow students to indicate whether they wish to speak to a financial aid counselor to see how the role would impact their aid, she said.
“The offices will organize virtual information sessions on this specific area and provide students with a knowledge base should they wish to apply,” Hastings said.
SA is also working to expand mental health and sexual assault resources for students. Last semester, SA implemented Callisto, an app that uses a matching system to identify repeat sexual assault offenders. Hastings said SA is also working closely with The Arch’s Barnes Center to promote and potentially fund Sanvello, a stress and anxiety app that connects students with coaching and therapy.
In addition to virtual coaching and therapy with counselors, the app also offers a daily recording system, guided self-care lessons and community messages on support techniques.
SA has also started working with the Barnes Center to share information about consulting resources and new services and opportunities, Hastings said.
“(The Barnes Center) recently hired more counselors of different identities, and it is important for students to know this so that they feel more comfortable approaching and using Barnes counseling services. “said Hastings. “This includes having the names, photos, specialization and identities of advisors on their website. “
Hastings said SA plans to continue implementing new initiatives throughout the spring semester, despite challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The past year has been a challenge leading an organization during a pandemic with members spread across the country, but it was also an opportunity to learn, to try new things and to overcome these challenges,” he said. Hastings said.
Posted on February 7, 2021 at 8:28 p.m.