Current Date: Wed, 19 Jun 2013 12:19:34 -0400
For students trying to navigate through their financial aid options, the process will soon be made easier.
Student Body President Will Leimenstoll is working to create a one-stop website that will contain information on all of the financial resources available to UNC students.
Leimenstoll is working with Information Technology Services and University administrators to build the website.
Leimenstoll said his goal is to have the site up by the end of the fall 2012 semester.
“Resources are out there, and there are some places where it’s aggregated, but there’s not one place out there that shows the whole picture,” Leimenstoll said.
The website — which will have the domain name money.unc.edu — will direct students to information on different types of funding, such as financial aid for tuition, summer unpaid internships and study abroad.
Leimenstoll said that while those resources exist, the students who need the resources most often don’t know about them.
“There’s a large inequity in information on how the University functions and on many resources of this university,” he said.
“Every student who comes to Carolina should have the same knowledge of opportunities here. This website helps address that.”
Leimenstoll said he hopes the website will include potential funding from sources other than the University.
“We don’t want it to be just UNC resources; we want to find things like scholarships through fraternities, the federal government, foundations,” he said.
Leimenstoll said that he would be surprised if the University were the first to implement such a website and will look into whether other schools have a similar site.
The website will also include financial management information for students.
Shirley Ort, director of the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid, said the problem is not a lack of transparency, but rather a lack of knowledge on where to find the information.
“One of the most helpful things would be to have links all provided on one page,” Ort said.
“Nothing like that has been done yet, where everything from all departments has been pulled together.”
She said anything that could sort all of the various sources would be a service to students.
“I know when I wanted information on University statistics, I go to the UNC website but it’s not always logical to me where to go to look for it,” Ort said.
“I’m sure students would say that same thing about finding financial information.”
Sophomore Laura Painter said it’s often a struggle to find available forms of financial aid other than tuition grants.
“I know there’s more out there but sometimes it’s hard to find scholarships,” Painter said. “You really have to look hard for those.”
“I think it’d be great to have a website like that to break it all down for you and point you in the right direction.”
According to a White House press release earlier this month, the average student who uses loans to pay for college graduates with about $26,300 of debt.
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