Lynn University financial aid department says sequester will impact students the most

Major federal programs for students in need will be reduced unless change is made

Published Mar. 06, 2013

Reflecting the reality of college students across the country, hundreds of Lynn University students will receive less federal aid if the planned sequester cuts become reality, and these cuts will disproportionality affect students who need the most help to realize their dreams of a college education.

The sequestration is estimated to affect the financial aid budget by $86 million potentially reducing aid to 6,700 students across Florida.

Evelyn Nelson“For the families that receive these federal funds, the importance is life changing. Without the aid dollars, many would not be able to attend a university,” Evelyn Nelson, executive director of Lynn's Student Financial Services, said. “In my opinion, the majority of the 6,700 estimated students affected in Florida may not pursue post-secondary education due to lack of financial resources, and I see this as going backward when it comes to educating our youth.”

Nelson points out that two important aid programs received by 204 Lynn students, the Federal Work Study (FWS) and Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), will receive an estimated 5.1 percent cut in the first year (starting July 1, 2013) of the sequester and this cut would be maintained for the next ten years if sequestration continues. The first year’s cuts alone would mean 10 less students would be able to obtain help from these programs. Pell Grants, one of the most popular Federal student aid programs, are protected from sequestration for the first year, but cuts begin to go into effect every year after that for ten years. Lynn currently has 362 students receiving Pell Grant assistance. Additionally, immediate application of the sequestration increases the costs of student loan origination fees for students who are new borrowers and have a disbursement after March 1, 2013.

There are no other programs designed to make up for reduced federal funding. The reduction or loss of federal funds will mean that the difference will most likely have to come out of pocket of the student and his/her family.

“Congress has an immense amount of power to make the right decisions that help our country’s future workforce,” Nelson said. “However, the current Congress appears to favor less aid to our students. This could create a greater separation between students of means who can afford college and those who need help. I fear this may have a lasting impact on our country’s ability to maintain a healthy middle class.”

More on Nelson

As Lynn University’s executive director of student financial services, Evelyn Nelson oversees a one-stop university center with student accounts and financial aid services. She oversees all functions related to enrolled students such as financial aid and loan processing and refunds. Nelson also heads up her team’s online services such as payment, electronic financial aid awards, electronic billing and document imaging.

She has more than 20 years of experience in higher education financial aid services and is an expert on various topics related to student financial aid programs, including federal and state initiatives. Nelson is involved with several financial aid professional associations and has served on the boards of many of the organizations—including as president of the Florida Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.

She can comment on current trends in federal and state aid programs, options for incoming and current college students navigating the college financial aid maze, the effects of federal and state budget decisions on financial aid, independent universities and student aid and Lynn University’s financial aid options and programs for students.