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In response to the global economic downturn, the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh has created a Student Financial Emergency Response Team to assist students experiencing serious unexpected financial difficulties.

The Team will work with students to mobilize resources for those who may have experienced a financial emergency or crisis that may adversely affect their ability to continue with their academic plan.

“Since this summer, the Financial Aid Office is hearing more parents and students verbalize their concerns about financial aid funding,” said Beatriz Contreras, director of financial aid. “We are experiencing an increase in the volume of requests for revisions of financial aid packages due to loss of job or income. We also have students and parents that are employed but have had their work hours reduced. We have many students working more than one job-especially our non-traditional and single parents.” For more information about the Financial Aid Forecast at UW Oshkosh, click here.

The Student Financial Emergency Response Team will work with students who are most adversely affected to help them find alternative sources of funding, as well as assist students in finding on- and off-campus jobs and counseling, if needed. The team is comprised of leaders from across campus in the areas of student affairs, academic affairs, financial aid, career services and advancement. Team members include Contreras, Debbie Matulle, student accounts; Perry Rettig, provost office; Petra Roter, student affairs; Lori Kroening, advancement; Jaime Page-Stadler, career services; and Lori Worm, administrative services. The team will meet monthly or on an as-needed basis.

“Students and parents need to be aware that if they are experiencing difficulty with meeting their college costs, the Financial Aid Office can offer advice, information and solutions to a wide variety of problems,” said Contreras. “We are able to analyze the student’s current situation and can make adjustments to their expected family contribution. We have short-term loans that can assist students with immediate expenses. We also have a network of information and can refer students to other federal, state and private sources of funding.”

Added Petra Roter, vice chancellor for student affairs, “While it may be necessary for some of our students to stop out of college, we will be sure to work with them to develop a plan to return as soon as possible. In those cases, we will stay in contact with students to get updates and to see if we can be of any further assistance.”

The Financial Aid Office has processes in place that can re-evaluate a student’s financial aid eligibility. Students and families that are affected by unforeseen and extenuating circumstances that significantly affect the student and family’s ability to contribute towards the costs of education should contact the Financial Aid Office for information.

Faculty, staff, students and parents can contact the Student Financial Emergency Response Team at sfert@uwosh.edu or call Beatriz Contreras at (920) 424-4025 or Petra Roter at (920) 424-4000.

“With our focus fixed on students — and with our commitment to use and build upon our established framework for making sound financial decisions — I am confident that our campus community can withstand the difficult challenges posed by the current economic crisis,” said Chancellor Richard H. Wells.

“While we do not yet know the depth of the economy’s impact on our students, I ask that during these difficult times, we continue to be sensitive to the needs of our students and use the available campus resources, such as the Student Financial Emergency Response Team, to provide assistance,” he said.

Faculty, staff and students are urged to be attentive to students who may be experiencing serious, unexpected financial difficulties and encourage them to contact the Student Financial Emergency Resource Team for assistance.

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