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At Financial Aid Services (FAS) and Genesis Software, we are known for our industry expertise with decades worth of experience. But how did our experts first begin their journey in the world of Higher Education and Financial Aid?
This month we are hearing from Sue Bienvenue, a Financial Aid Specialist who dabbles in a little bit of everything at FAS – such as Student Eligibility Reviews, Enrollment reporting, and more! Read on to hear how she became the FIRST woman to become Director of Financial Aid in a NH College!
My career in Financial Aid began in 1981. Yes, four plus decades ago.
I was working part-time at a local School District. A co-worker of mine who knew I was pursuing full-time employment mentioned that there was an open position in Financial Aid at a local New Hampshire College – Southern NH University!
In my attempt to impress the hiring personnel, I read up on the process of pursuing Financial Aid, aiming to have at least some basic knowledge. My efforts paid off, and I was hired as the Pell Grant Coordinator. My career at NHC spanned 18 years. I received promotions, progressing from Assistant Director to Associate Director, and eventually reaching the esteemed position of Director of Financial Aid, becoming the first woman to hold this position.
During my time at New Hampshire College, we often hosted workshops and training sessions for the New Hampshire Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NHASFAA), with participation from many local colleges and vendors. It was there, decades ago, that I met Al & Elaine Gillis. The founders of Financial Aid Services. Who knew!
After leaving NHC, I continued my career at other colleges holding various positions: Regional Director of Financial Aid and Corporate Compliance Director for five locations, School Director at schools in Maine & Massachusetts, and eventually transitioning to Corporate Compliance of Education.
Due to cutbacks at my last employer, my position in Corporate Compliance was eliminated. I saw myself unemployed at 60+ years old. I contemplated whether I should continue in such a highly demanding field. As you have probably already figured out, my unemployment was short-lived. An opportunity at Financial Aid Services presented itself, and I decided to explore it further. After meeting with Sandi & Ron, they offered me a position, recognizing the wealth of experience I had gained over my 30+ years in various financial aid capacities.
And here I am! Nine years later. I often remind Sandi & Ron that I am so grateful they took a chance on an older worker.
My official Title is Financial Aid Specialist. My area of responsibility includes working with the Student Eligibility Review Team, HCM2 Schools, & Enrollment Reporting.
As you can imagine, Financial Aid has dramatically changed over the decades of working in this field. My advice to newcomers is to sign up for any Financial Aid training that comes your way. Opportunities will follow.