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Lane-Sampson has calling to help students
New asst. director will help expand Chesapeake College’s financial aid outreach
Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2011
WYE MILLS Financial aid has never been more important in helping provide access to higher education. That’s one of the main reasons Shaunda Lane-Sampson continues to find her career so rewarding.
"Financial aid is more important now than ever," said Lane-Sampson, who started Monday as Chesapeake College’s new assistant financial aid director. "The economy is not only affecting individuals, it’s affecting colleges that have had to increase tuition to offset decreases in public funding. It’s important to have financial aid available to help students who cannot afford to fund their entire college education themselves."
The college’s recognition of the importance financial aid plays in helping local residents start and stay in college is one of the reasons Chesapeake added this new position in a difficult budget year.
"As enrollment has increased dramatically over the last several years, driven in part by the recession, so have applications for financial aid," said Chesapeake College President Dr. Barbara Viniar. "Additional staff ensures that all students and their families get the help they need to attend college."
Lane-Sampson, who most recently served as assistant financial aid director at Cecil College, said she has seen the financial aid picture from several perspectives.
"I was a financial aid recipient, so I saw it from the student end," recalled Lane, who graduated from Morgan State University in Baltimore. "I was also a student worker in the Financial Aid Office, so I was actually able to see how the availability of financial aid helped so many students."
Mindy Schaffer, Chesapeake’s director of financial aid, said this new position will allow the college to better serve the growing number of financial aid recipients. The number of Chesapeake students receiving any type of financial aid jumped from 1,342 in Fall 2008 to 1,837 in Fall 2010, an increase of nearly 37 percent in just two years.
"The college recognized the need to hire an assistant director at a time when more and more students are seeking financial assistance to achieve their educational goals," said Schaffer. "I feel fortunate to have found Shaunda as she has all the skill sets necessary to hit the ground running."
Dr. Viniar noted that financial aid state and federal need-based aid, merit-based scholarships, and other types of assistance "is an investment in our future."
"Students who succeed in college get better jobs, pay higher taxes and contribute to the community," said Dr. Viniar.
Lane-Sampson’s major roles will include verifying students’ financial aid eligibility, awarding aid to eligible students, assisting Schaffer with day-to-day office operations, and community outreach, with particular emphasis on presenting at financial aid nights hosted by area high schools.
Schaffer said Lane-Sampson’s experience and commitment to students will make her a great fit at Chesapeake.
"Shaunda brings a breadth of experience from her time at both a community college and university financial aid office," said Schaffer. "She particularly understands the special needs of community college students and their families."
Lane-Sampson said the current economic situation is sending more people with fewer financial resources back to college in need of enhanced training or training for new careers.
"People who have lost their jobs are finding they need more current skills to stay in that profession or a new set of skills to move into a different profession," said Lane-Sampson. "The availability of financial aid to help these people who have lost their jobs and need additional education is critical."
Lane-Sampson said the opportunity to work on the Eastern Shore and with Schaffer were among her reasons for pursing a position with Chesapeake.
"I had heard so many great things about Chesapeake," said Lane-Sampson, who worked in the University of Delaware Financial Aid Office prior to working at Cecil. "I had recently attended a conference at Chesapeake and was impressed with the beautiful campus.
"I also had an opportunity to meet Mindy at a statewide financial aid professionals meeting," added Lane-Sampson. "I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to learn from someone with many years in the business."
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