For most college students, financial aid is an integral part of their college lives. It was the same for Tracey Piccoli when she was a student at Fort Lewis College, but for her, financial aid went from a way to pay for school to her career.
“I came to FLC as a freshman in 1988” she says. “I walked into the Office of Financial Aid in January of 1989 to pick up the ‘scholarship book’ and while waiting in line I saw the help wanted ad on the bulletin board and inquired. I have been working here ever since. I started as a student worker and after graduation began working as an administrative assistant and now am the director.”
The financial aid system is becoming increasingly complex, not only for students and their families, but for those tasked with administering the system. As director of financial aid, Ms. Piccoli’s job is ever-changing and perhaps more important today than ever before. For her work, she is the recipient of the 2017-18 Fort Lewis College Outstanding Staff Award.
Most professors look to the culmination of a students’ academic career as proof that the help they offered was valuable. It’s the same for staff like Ms. Piccoli. The debt that FLC students carry with them after college is among the lowest in Colorado and below the national average. The numbers are nice, but she gets the greatest satisfaction from the personal stories and accomplishments from the students she’s helped.
“Dealing with finances in the Office of Financial Aid is not always an easy task,” she says. “My most memorable/rewarding moments are when we get that card, email or visit from someone letting us know what they are doing now and that we have helped them. Getting invited to see their senior presentations, recitals or attend their graduation is exciting and rewarding and makes me feel that we have helped make it all possible.”
“I was surprised to be chosen for this award,” she goes on to say. “At FLC, we have so many amazing employees that I see every day go above and beyond to get the job done. It is an honor to be chosen for this award with all the amazing staff we have here.”