Amid the current economic crisis, many students have expressed concerns about financing their college education.

However, according to Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Jonathan Burdick, the student body can rely on the Office of Financial Aid.

Although the current economic crisis threatens the job market for college graduates, Burdick reassured that UR’s financial aid services remain unaffected by the current state of the economy. The Office of Financial Aid has, and will, undergo myriad upgrades in its services. However, the financial aid budget has not been affected by the economy.

The mission of UR’s financial aid office is to provide fair, equitable and quality service in evaluating and determining financial assistance for students as mandated by federal, state and University regulations.

Burdick assured that the office will continue to carry out its mission under the current financial circumstances.

‘We want to make sure we are still providing students with the education that they paid for,” Burdick said. ‘We are willing to aid students the best that we can to make things financially easier for them. That is one of our missions.”

The economy has not been a factor in UR’s financial aid budgeting. Since there hasn’t been any evidence that the failing economy is affecting the University’s financial aid, there haven’t been any drastic adjustments.

‘Administration has been discussing [the budget],” Burdick said. ‘If the economy is as bad as everyone says and we see the effects, then we’ll consider adjustments. But there hasn’t been any evidence that the economy has been affecting the financial services or any other part of the University as of yet.”

With UR’s financial aid budgeting still intact, the financial aid office is focusing on its new launch for January.

Starting in the spring semester, an online feature will allow parents and students to access their financial aid accounts at any point during the day. The new feature also allows parents and students to make billing payments by credit card. Perhaps most importantly, students and parents will also be able to personally monitor their financial aid documents and the status of their payments.

Although the budget has yet to be affected, Burdick continues to urge students to stay alert.

With the current financial crisis, federal loans, such as the Stafford Loan, will remain stable. However, it is more likely that students who rely on direct loans from private entities may suffer.

For upper middle class families that earn too much for federal aid, but too little to afford full college expenses, this can be problematic.

‘The middle class, as a whole, has already been hurt by the economy,” sophomore Eileen Hansen said.

Hansen expressed the fear she felt for her family.

‘My family falls in a bad position where we are right below the line for affording full college expenses, but right above the line for receiving any substantial need-based federal aid. With the way the stock market is, everyone is always worried. Anyone can use more money.”

Though UR’s budgeting has been unaffected, Burdick still advises students to make sure all of their necessary documents are ready for financial aid as soon as possible.

‘Make sure you get your documents together and file everything on time. As long as students are paying attention and staying on top of everything, there should be no reason to worry,” Burdick said.

Nathaniel is a member of the class of 2011.

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