Recruiting students from across the U.S., Campus is the new alternative to online community college. We’re on a mission to maximize access to a world-class education to set students up for success no matter what their next step is. To us, maximizing access means recognizing the crucial role financial aid plays in making education accessible. Read on to learn more about key financial aid topics.
Campus is all about affordability and access for students from different backgrounds, which is why our business degree program tuition is below the maximum Federal Pell Grant award. As of December 2022, not a single student has taken on debt to enroll in the online associate in business program. That’s four cohorts of hardworking students who did not take out any loans in order to begin earning their associate degree in business!
And just how did the Campus community manage that?
We owe a lot of it to our very own financial aid specialist extraordinaire, Stephanie Zeppenfelt.
Stephanie’s Financial Aid Journey
Stephanie first started working in the world of financial aid support at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She began as an office assistant before making her way up to becoming a counselor. From then on, she began directly handling financial aid matters for her students, guiding them in everything from solving billing issues to making payments.
After almost five years at UArts, she went on to be a financial aid systems administrator for the Community College of Philadelphia. For eight additional years, Stephanie became increasingly familiar with the unique needs of community college students as she continued to assist students in navigating the financial aid process and ensuring they were compliant with federal regulations.
Stephanie has also been an active member of the Pennsylvania Association for Student Financial Aid Administrators where she served on the executive council for over three years and served as the organization’s treasurer, managing their entire financial portfolio, for almost two years.
With over thirteen years of supporting students through the financial aid process for higher education, Stephanie certainly knows what she’s doing.
Empowering Students to Ask For Help
One of the biggest takeaways Stephanie wants students to understand when it comes to financial aid is that they should always seek help.
“I’ve seen pretty much everything,” Stephanie told Campus in a recent interview. “Many times, this is the first time students are hearing typical financial terms, especially when it involves possible loans, accepting debt, and other things of that nature.”
These terms and processes include applying for federal benefits, filling out federal forms, and submitting tax documents.
She also recognizes that it’s not just students who may be overwhelmed or challenged with the process, sharing that “a lot of times, parents are unfamiliar with these terms as well.”
And with that knowledge, she strongly advocates for all involved to feel confident in asking for help.
“Students should never feel bad about having questions. As a financial aid administrator, you don’t expect the students to know what’s going on or how to do it,” Stephanie said. “That’s why we’re here: to assist. That’s why I have a job. I always tell students: don’t worry about asking questions – that’s why I’m here…it’s nothing I have not heard before.”
Stephanie and Campus
Stephanie joined Campus because she closely aligned with our commitment to affordable education. She’s proud to tell students that Campus has no additional hidden fees and that we “take wraparound support seriously.”
“We accommodate our students’ unique needs,” she stated, referring to how we assist students with collecting paperwork and enrolling in government assistance programs if needed. Campus also recognizes that financial support comes in many forms: we can also provide students with a free laptop and WiFi access, cover eTextbooks and course materials, provide emergency funding options, and more. “Many of our students have tried college before and said this is the first time they feel seen.”
“We explore ways for students to meet the tuition demands in ways other than taking out debt to do so first,” she shared with Campus.
“If students are eligible for the full Pell Grant, that will cover the cost of tuition for the online associate in business program,” Stephanie continued. “And then if students are not eligible for the Pell Grant, we work with them to come up with alternative payment options or work out an affordable payment plan that is manageable for them.”
Connect with Stephanie
Stephanie starts working one-on-one with students once they’ve applied to Campus and are admitted, but she understands that sometimes questions arise way before they even hit submit on the application. She has stressed that prospective students can reach out to the Campus financial aid office at any time for support.
If you plan to become a Campus student and have any financial aid questions, you know who to reach out to now! Send an email to email@example.com, or give our admissions office a call at (888) 675-2460 for more information.
And if you hear from Stephanie, tell her the blog sent you!