ISSUED: 11 August 2014
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens
SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — One of the first stops for students entering Shepherd University is probably the Office of Financial Aid, which has a new director, Brian De Young.
With about 15 years experience in higher education financial aid, De Young comes to Shepherd from Shenandoah University where he served as an associate director in the financial aid office. He was previously a financial aid counselor at James Madison University, where he received his bachelor of science in service management and master of education in college student personal administration.
De Young said college can be expensive, and the goal of the financial aid office is to help students afford it “so when they are here on our campus they’re focusing on the Shepherd experience not how they are going to pay for the Shepherd experience.”
De Young oversees a budget of about $455,000 and he estimates the office disburses almost $40 million in financial aid annually. That includes loans and grants from the federal government as well as state programs like the Promise Scholarship, which is awarded to West Virginia high school seniors who maintain a 3.0 grade point average and meet a minimum score on their college entrance exam, and the Higher Education Grant Program, which is needs-based.
De Young said his office takes students and their parents through the process of applying for financial aid. That includes helping them determine what loans, grants, and scholarships they are qualified for and guiding them through the process of applying.
De Young said while it’s imperative for first-year students to fill out the Federal Student Aid Application (FASFA) in the spring before they enter college, he emphasizes the importance of continuing to fill out the FASFA and applying for grants and scholarships each year after that.
De Young’s top six recommendations for students when it comes to acquiring financial aid are:
Always fill out the FASFA by the spring deadline the first year.
Apply for all possible scholarships including those offered at Shepherd University, in your community and online.
Respond to financial aid award notices immediately.
If you’re required to do additional paperwork do it quickly.
Continue filling out the FASFA each year you’re in college.
Respond to award notices immediately every single year.
De Young adds that it’s important for students to attend class and maintain satisfactory academic progress to keep their financial aid.
De Young, who became a financial aid administrator because he wanted a career where he could serve others, started his job in July and said he’s excited to be at Shepherd.
“From one of the first times I walked on this campus you can see that it’s a very strong, tight community here,” he said. “Everyone feels that they’re part of the same team, we just have different roles that we play, and it’s very exciting and reinvigorating to be part of a community like that because our number one focus is our students.”
Audio is available HERE.
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