Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Enrollment, advising, financial aid …

A few months ago, there were long lines of students and parents outside the Student Services offices on the second level of the Breezeway above the Cafeteria.

Bulletin boards inside the blue doors were filled with scholarship announcements, financial aid applications and student employment opportunities.

Today, one walks down a dark, vacant corridor resembling a ghost town. The bulletin boards are empty. The dark blue doors are locked, except the door to the Multi-Cultural offices. Signs tell students to go to the new Student Services Building, located in front of the University Center.

“I remember standing in a long line down the narrow hallway, waiting to speak to a Financial Aid officer,” recalls Nicole Caliendo, a communication major. “Now the line is gone and so is the cramped office.”

In February the Financial Aid Office relocated to Room 234 on the second floor of the newly-constructed 100,000-square-foot Student Services Building.

The main focus of the new building of concrete panels and glass-curtain walls is to provide students and parents with “one-stop shopping.” The goal, part of a nationwide trend, is to make enrollment at FAU easier.

According to the FAU website, the facility is the new home to the Admissions Office, the Registrar, the Cashier, Financial Aid, Career Development, Testing & Evaluation, Orientation, Student Health, Office of Disabilities, InternationalPrograms, International Scholar Studies and Freshman Academic Advising.

The relocations have gone smoothly. For example, the well-orchestrated move from the old Financial Aid offices to the new building took only two days.

“Our goal was to move over the weekend of Feb. 6 and be operational the following Monday morning,” says Tracy L. Boulukos, associate director of student financial aid. “We hired a moving company that had two crews. The one crew came in that Friday afternoon and packed up all the files.”

The department keeps files, she notes, for student employment, veterans and financial aid. The crew used moving carts, shrank-wrapped all the files to ensure the security of students’ information, and placed them in FAU’s new space-saver filing system.

“They are nice and secure. You can lock them into place, they expand out and you can roll them out,” adds Boulukos.

FAU’s Informational Resources Management staff set up the computer system for the entire office. “If we wanted to be operational on Monday morning, we had to have our computers all installed and ready for people to use when it came time to open the doors,” Boulukos notes.

The new facility has continuous glass walls and railing, and a patterned terrazzo floor that leads upstairs to the large mahogany doors of the Financial Aid offices. Unlike at the old offices, there are now couches, chairs and tables with magazines for students to use while they wait.

Six black shelves are filled with applications and pamphlets. In the front of the offices is a long mahogany desk with four tall chairs, and one small black chair and desk, and five personal computers. Directly behind the desks are three large doors with windows.

“It’s really nice, they have the glass so they can monitor the line,” says Boulukos.

Jason Morgenthal, a financial aid officer, says, “We can bring students back here and discuss issues. It relaxes us as Financial Aid officers to be able to sit down with students, talk and ask questions.”

The new offices have had a positive impact on the attitudes of the employees. Says Boulukos, “We have noticed morale is up. In the old building we were confined and compact in the old space.” Adds Morgenthal,”Working in a beautiful surrounding as it is here gives you a sense of additional motivation. You really want to come to work.”

Raquel Grant, coordinator of computer applications, says, “When I started I was sharing an office with a graduate assistant and the offices were very small and tight. The only thing that everyone was concerned about is that we are not that close knit anymore. We were almost like family in the old offices and now we are spread out.”

In addition to the new spacious environment at the student services building, officers are working to make the financial aid process more efficient. One such endeavor is the financial aid website.

“We have done a lot of work and a lot of studying on a website that is useful for students,” Boulukos notes. “We really took time trying to make the Web site a tool they can use comfortably.”

Grant, who came to FAU recently from the State Technology Office in Tallahassee where she was a programmer analyst, says she is moving quickly to improve the productivity of the Financial Aid Office by redesigning the webpage. One major change is the news flash on the home page signaling new scholarships, deadlines and important information.

“When I was in college I wasn’t informed of all the scholarships offered, so I designed the webpage to post all the scholarships that we offer,” Grant says. “We make it convenient for the student. They don’t have to come in and ask for a scholarship application; they are usually already online.”

One click on the mouse and students are able to find out, for example, about the BankAtlantic scholarships. The bank, which has an office on the Boca Raton campus, awards a $200 scholarship every month based on a different essay topic. Only a handful of students apply, apparently because they are unaware.

“I think students should check the website every couple of weeks, Boulukos says. “We are constantly changing and tweaking things so it’s not like it just stays stagnant all year long.”

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