Financial aid no longer affected by RA status

| News Editor

Beaumont 2 RA Sydney Rossman-Reich speaks with her floor at their first floor meeting before convocation. Starting next schoolyear, RAs will be considered University employees. With the new system, RA compensation will no longer impact financial aid packages. Matt Mitgang | Student Life

Beaumont 2 RA Sydney Rossman-Reich speaks with her floor at their first floor meeting before convocation. Starting next schoolyear, RAs will be considered University employees. With the new system, RA compensation will no longer impact financial aid packages.

Starting in fall 2011, being a Residential Advisor (RA) will no longer jeopardize a student’s eligibility to receive financial aid.

In an email to all RAs for the 2011-2012 school year, Associate Director of Residential Life Mary Elliott announced that the RAs will now be considered full employees of the Office of Residential Life. This will stop their financial aid from being affected.

In the past, some RAs have lost a portion of their financial aid due to their RA compensation.

RAs receive compensation for their housing and for half of their board expenses.

Before this change, students who were considering being RAs had to take into account the effect that being an RA would have on their financial aid before committing to the job.

According to Elliott, several students have to turn down their RA offers each year due to financial aid issues.

“It’s something that the RAs in the previous years have been fighting for a long time,” said sophomore Rachel Koren, a future RA. “It’s unfair that people who qualified for the job had to turn it down because they would lose their financial aid. They should not be penalized for their achievement.”

Elliott said that achieving the status change was a collaborative effort.

“The Office of Residential Life, through a lot of collaboration with partners across campus, was able to re-classify the compensation the RAs receive…so that it does not negatively impact their financial aid packages,” she said. “We’ve been working on this for a number of years and we’re so happy that it’s come to fruition.”

According to Elliott, the only difference to students who accept the position is that they will have to fill out employment forms for the University.

“[It’s] no big rule change or anything like that,” she said.

She added that she hopes the change will allow more qualified students to become RAs, without regard to their financial aid.

“My hope is that it won’t stand in people’s way now. If it was a factor to not apply perhaps now knowing it wont negatively affect them they would consider it,” Elliott said. “When you want to hire someone and think they’re great it’s hard not to hire someone for the team.”

Junior and RA Sarah Michaels thinks that this change will help to even the playing field for all students who want to be RAs, regardless of their financial situation.

“I think it will allow people to make a decision on whether to be an RA based on whether or not it is something they want to do rather than based on whether or not it is something they can afford to do,” Michaels said.

  • Student

    Isn’t financial aid supposed to help students pay for what their income can’t? How does free room and board not reduce a student’s need, thereby reducing the aid they should receive?

    • Student

      Following your logic, students who decide not to work at all (or have their parents paying for their school) should receive more financial aid than students who have jobs.