NACURH Winner
Month: May 2017

NACURH, INC.

Institution Faculty/Staff of the Month

School: UNC Chapel Hill Region: SAACURH
Nominee: Grace Hatcher Nominator: Matt Renn

On-Campus Population: 9000 Chapter Size: 35

Please explain the outstanding contributions of the nominee during the month of nomination

In my experience as a College Adviser for high school students, Financial Aid Counselors can be intimidating individuals to talk to. Students are worried that bothering their Aid Counselor with silly questions will negatively impact their financial aid or even admissions status. In reality, Financial Aid Counselors are often more than happy to work with students to make college more affordable, and relish the opportunity to make personal connections with students who might need additional help to obtain a college degree. Grace Hatcher has been the finest Financial Aid Counselor that I have had the pleasure of working with because she goes out of her way to not only help incoming Tar Heels each year, but any student who might be struggling to decide which college is the most financially responsible option for them.

Grace is a Financial Aid Counselor at the UNC-Chapel Hill Office of Scholarships and Student Aid, where she helps students and families navigate the tough task of financing a college education. I first met Grace at a training for the Carolina College Advising Corps when she presented on changes to the FAFSA verification process for this year. Grace equipped the 51 College Advisers with invaluable knowledge on this critical process for our students, and has continued to be a resource for us ever since that initial meeting. Recently, I had a student who was alarmed at the final cost for UNC- Chapel Hill when he saw his financial aid package. Once he realized he incorrectly reported one figure on the CSS Profile, a required financial aid document, Grace helped him submit a correction for this lengthy form. At that time, I did not know how to go about correcting a CSS Profile, and was very thankful to have Grace as a trustworthy resource for my student and his family. Once the correction was processed and his financial aid package updated, the final cost to my student is now much more reasonable for him: all thanks to Grace’s assistance.

I turned to Grace again when one of my students received a full-ride scholarship to another university. The other institution gave her a very short window of time to accept the scholarship, but she had not yet received a financial aid package from UNC and wanted to make an informed decision on which college to attend. Grace went to work to get my student her financial aid package quickly, and advised her on how to ask the other institution for more time to consider both of her options: both tasks that were above and beyond her call of duty. Once my student received her UNC financial aid package, Grace reached out again to explain what the award did and did not cover in detail, ensuring my student could make the right decision.

One of the most difficult, yet critical, components of the College Adviser role is advising students on financial aid matters, and I can honestly say that Grace has been a lifesaver to me and my students this year. These are just two of the many instances that I have turned to Grace as an expert on all things financial aid, and I am confident the Carolina Corps would be lost without her guidance and partnership. By dismantling the negative connotations that surround Financial Aid Counselors one student at a time, Grace proves time and time again to be an invaluable resource not only to the Carolina College Advising Corps, but to UNC-Chapel Hill as a whole.

Word Count: 579


Date of entry into database: 2017-06-01 13:26:18

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