Virtual Town Hall meeting successful for third year

On Jan. 24, Maryville College hosted its annual Virtual Town Hall meeting. The meeting
began three years ago in attempt to help make the financial aid process easy for the families of
incoming students.

A panel consisting of Richard Brand, director of financial aid at MC and Phil and Julie Julian,
the parents of MC senior Emily Julian discussed the different ways to prepare and complete
the financial aid packets. The program was moderated by local news anchor from WBIR, John
Becker. Alayne Bowan, assistant director of financial aid screened the incoming questions.

In order to promote publicity for this event, the Maryville College admissions offices sent
e-mails and postcards to prospective students across the nation. In addition to the efforts of the
admissions, the program has gained publicity by having Becker moderate the event.

“We’re delighted that he was able to join us and we believe he is a great addition,” Dr. Dolph
Henry, vice president of enrollment at MC, said.

In order to access the free broadcast, participants logged on to MC’s main page and were
able to access the site through a link at 8:00 p.m. The event lasted an hour, during which the
panel answered questions and commented on potential problems experienced when applying for
financial aid. Additionally, if anyone missed the live broadcast, the video was made available on
Maryville’s webpage.

Brand explained that MC has created a “road map to financial aid,” a six-step plan that helps
simplify the financial aid process. The first step is to apply for admission. The next step is to
receive a scholarship; upon acceptance to MC, a student may qualify for MC scholarships that
will assist in tuition coasts. Third, students fill out the FAFSA by Jan. 1 in order to qualify for
more aid. Fourth, apply for fellowships which can be acquired through auditions and interviews
for those that qualify. Fifth, students should check the results of their FAFSA and see if they
received any additional scholarships. Lastly, students should consider all their possibilities and
realize that they always have options when attending to MC.

“If you follow these six steps, you should feel comfortable as a new student,” Brand said.

The program was started as an alternative to the typical town hall meeting where the local
community convened at a common location.

“It’s a 21st century twist on the traditional town hall meeting,” said Mary Leidig, director of
marketing at MC.

The convenience of logging on from home makes learning about the financial aid process less
daunting to incoming students and their families.

“We try our best to keep families informed of new changes with the FAFSA financial aid,”
Henry said. “The biggest change is the cut off of 128 hours for the Hope Scholarship.”

While the Virtual Town Hall is open to all families, it is really a program to help incoming
students better understand the financial aid process.

“Our goal is to humanize the financial aid process,” Henry said.

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