Keeping College Within Reach For PSU Students

April 6th, 2009 by Adam

Crystal Finefrock, PSU’s Senior Associate Director of Financial Aid, received the Champion of Educational Opportunity Award from the New England Educational Opportunity Association on March 31. She was honored for her work in helping first-generation and low-income students to become more knowledgeable about scholarships and loans. Sue Keefe of PSU’s Academic Support Services office nominated Finefrock for the award.

“Many first generation students find it difficult to navigate that system, and Crystal has been tireless in working with students to empower them to make good financial decisions and to understand the potential future implications of loans, grants, and awards,” said Keefe.

About 40 percent of PSU’s first-year students are the first members of their families to attend college, so financial aid loans, scholarships and personal financial literacy are critical issues in ensuring the students stay in school and thrive academically.

“I think we’re lucky that she’s here,” said Jeannie Choe, a sophomore from Salem, N.H.

“She provided us a way to budget our money better, explained different loan packages, it was very informative.”

“She has been offering specialized sessions to our low income and first generation students
around issues of scholarships and a more complete understanding of financial aid packages and awards,” Keefe said. “She has hosted seminars, provided individualized packets, and created innovative games to foster student understanding of personal finances and the broader labyrinth of the financial aid system.”

Finefrock said she was shocked when she learned of her award.

“It makes you feel appreciated because it’s recognition of what you’re doing for students and their families,” Finefrock said.“It’s heartwarming, I love what I do, where I do it; you hope you make a difference in somebody’s life, and sometimes you’re not sure if you do. So, when I received this award it’s an affirmation that I have made a difference.”

For more information about this release, contact Bruce Lyndes, PSU Media Relations Mgr., (603) 535-2775 or Bruce Lyndes