Ring ring, FAU’s student-run financial aid Hoot Line is calling!

The Financial Aid department opened a call center last January for the benefit of incoming freshmen.


Gasner Delvarin Jr.

The Financial Aid Call Center for first-generation college students.

Elisabeth Gaffney, Staff Writer

In January 2022, the “Hoot Line” financial aid call center was established by the FAU Financial Aid department to assist incoming freshmen and first-generation students through peer-to-peer communication.

Part of the Federal Work-Study (FWS) program, the Hoot Line consists of nine student callers who assist students with admissions applications, registering for orientation, courses, and other onboarding tasks, reminding students of financial aid requirements and deadlines, and notifying students of grant and scholarship eligibility.

“I am a first-generation student, but I was unaware about the call center until now. I’m going to look more into it to see what type of help it offers!” wrote Dámarys Torres Blanco, senior multimedia journalism major.

Tasmyn Carey (left)works with a student (right) in the Hoot Line call center. (Gasner Delvarin Jr.)

According to the Hoot Line student advisor, Tasmyn Carey, the center was proposed due to a need for more hands-on student resources in order to strengthen enrollment, retention, and graduation efforts.

The center opened on Jan. 31, 2022, and 266 calls were executed on that first day. As of March 3, 2023, there have been a total of 30,608 outbound calls and the center is now trending at 20% increase in the number of calls made over the Fall 2022 Semester, which Carey attributes to “the hard work and extraordinary dedication of our student-led Hoot Line Team.”

“Hoot Line’s success demonstrates a great potential to significantly impact essential performance indicators that include enrollment, four-year graduation rate, the academic progress rate, and many more,” Carey wrote in a statement.

The UP spoke with Shannon Vasconcelos, senior director of college finance with Bright Horizons College Coach, who has 10 years of experience working at college financial aid offices, including those at Boston University and Tufts University, to obtain a new ‘ perspective.

“I think that it’s great to simply get more manpower involved with the financial aid process and having students that can speak to students on their same level who understand what’s confusing,” said Vasconcelos.

Vasconcelos claims that a recent spike in staff turnover has negatively impacted the level of service that financial aid offices can offer students nationwide. That issue might be solved in part by hiring work-study students to assist the remaining financial aid staff.

With the success of the Hoot Line, Carey believes there is potential to expand in order to include new departments that could benefit from call campaigns.

“The benefits that come from Hoot Line are exponential and could evolve into generating even more entirely new university-wide initiatives,” wrote Carey. “As a highly diverse institution, it is imperative that we continue to make education more accessible and attainable so that we can engender momentous opportunities for our current and next generation of students and truly transform their lives.”

Elisabeth Gaffney is a Staff Writer for the University Press. For more information on this article or others, you can reach Elisabeth at [email protected] or DM her on Instagram @elisabethgaff.