From Capitol Hill to Annapolis, Washington Adventist University administrators seize every opportunity to make their voices heard on the critical issue of financial aid. More than 50 percent of WAU students receive some form of financial aid and one third of the students are first generation college students.
Financial aid director Sharon Conway frequently attends meeting to keep abreast of new developments and to offer her opinion when possible. Conway attended one such meeting on Capitol Hill in February as a member the Delaware, District of Columbia and Maryland Association of student financial aid administrators, a sub-group of the Eastern Association of student financial aid administrators.
Members had 47 appointments with legislative aides on the committee for education. The goal was to give feedback to the committee on important matters affecting the WAU financial aid department.
The main concern expressed by Conway during had to do with consumer information. As stressed by President Obama during his State of the Union address, finding effective tools to provide accurate information to students and parents on higher education is imperative. Conway said there are still some inconsistencies between different channels of information when it comes to tuition.
“It is important to keep the information updated and make sure that parents and students receive the right information” she said.
Congressmen and senators rely on such information from different institutions to enforce new regulations and improve the educational system. Conway said the Capitol Hill visit was extremely productive, and allowed the Washington Adventist University to be heard on a state level.
Conway was also part of a group, led by President Weymouth Spence, Ed.D. who attended, the Maryland Independent College and University Association (MICUA) Higher Education Day in Annapolis earlier in February to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Sellinger Fund, the state grant program that provides financial support to eligible nonprofit private colleges in Maryland.
At the event, the students expressed their gratitude to state legislators for the money provided by the Sellinger fund, which helps provide students with scholarships as well as infrastructural support. Money from the Sellinger Fund contributed to the completion of the Leroy and Lois Peters Music Center on the campus of Washington Adventist University.