March 20, 2009
University recognizes that financial aid is one of the most
decisive factors for students applying to colleges or universities.
As part of St. John’s ongoing commitment to ensure its students
receive an affordable, quality education, $151.6 million of
University monies was awarded in 2007-08 in the form of academic
scholarships and grants. And when financial aid from all other
sources is added, a total of $357.6 million in financial aid was
distributed by the University to its students last year.
St. John’s Office of Student
Financial Services counsels 95 percent of the student
population on the importance of applying for financial aid through
FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and TAP (Tuition
Assistance Program) grants, loans and scholarships, and advises
families on financial aid eligibility, guidelines and tuition
expenses. The office staff research potential funding for students
and process University scholarships, deferment plans, work-study,
private loans, federal and state applications.
to Thomas Nedell, Vice President of Business Affairs and Treasurer,
the Student Financial Services office is dedicated to ensuring that
students in need have access to the financial resources that will
allow them to pursue their degree at St. John’s.
In 2007 the Financial Aid and Bursar’s offices were consolidated
into one office with two varying functions: the front desk service,
where students receive financial advisement and pay tuition
expenses; and the back end, which incorporates financial aid
processing and management.
“We really are a team—it has taken us about a year to become a
cohesive unit,” says Jorge Rodriguez, Associate Vice President of
Student Financial Services. “Just think about it, one day you work
on one side of the house and then you have to learn multiple job
functions. It took some time but we are a team, and as a team, if
someone falls down there is some else there to assist you.”
Due to the increase in student traffic and limited meeting space,
the department has transitioned from Newman Hall to a new location
in Bent Hall, across from Carnesecca Arena. The new space includes
a student/family waiting area with flat screen TVs and individual
offices where financial discussions can take place in private. An
increased number of customer service windows and a computer kiosk
where students can access their financial aid information help to
eliminate long lines.
(Students are reminded that they can also check financial aid
status or disbursements to their student accounts, complete a
tuition deferment or make payments to St. John’s through the
University Information System [UIS].)
As part of
St. John’s ongoing efforts to provide quality service to students,
the office has extended business hours to eliminate congestion and
the need to use Council Hall during peak registration periods. The
new Office hours, which began March 16, 2009, are
Mondays-Thursdays, 8:30 a.m.-7 p.m. and Fridays, 8:30 a.m.-3
“We want to administer the best service to students and their
families and have one point of reference where they can obtain
answers to specific questions,” says Vice President Rodriguez. “The
business process will be the same but the physical space will be
more inviting and private.”
The Office of Student Financial Services processes over $500
million in revenues from tuition, fees, federal and state aid
programs such as Pell and Perkin grants, work-study, and TAP.
About $ 2.8 million from University endowment funds are offered to
students each year.
Vice President Rodriguez credits the support of University
President Rev. Donald J. Harrington, C.M., and upper
administration, who have pledged to provide financial assistance to
all qualified students who wish to advance their education at St.
Behind the Scenes
The Bursar’s Office, a division of the Office of Student Financial
Services, generates about 22,000 1098-T forms per year, in
addition to processing over 4,000 deferments for students who
participate in deferment plans. The division also processes 80
percent of academic scholarships granted to incoming international
freshman. They also produce monthly billing statements, and process
over $30 million in refunds to students.
In an effort to provide the best financial resources available, the
department remains current on financial information by
participating in training sessions, webinars and seminars, and via
email updates, departmental meetings and especially student
feedback. Representatives in the University’s Customer
Service Center are also trained to answer financial aid and tuition
questions from students and their families.
Students accepted to the University can access personal up-to-date
information on financial aid eligibility, award letters, tuition
breakdown and application forms through the University’s Information
“I hope people will have a better understanding of the financial
aid programs and what our office does from a functional
perspective,” adds Eileen Flood, Director of Financial Aid for
Federal and State Programs. “The key is communication-- the better
we communicate with each other, the better we can communicate with