A Friendly Face from Financial Aid

“When things are going badly financially, don’t hide!”

Photo of Kathy Gottschalk. Source: earlham.edu

What is your background?
Kathy was born and raised in Mexico; she moved to the United States after graduating high school. Kathy has worked in financial aid for approximately 40 years, but she worked primarily at the graduate and professional levels. Fun fact: she also raises chickens and loves gardening!

What brought you to Earlham?

When her kids graduated high school, she was able to move somewhere and make a change in her career. She was interested in Earlham as it was a liberal arts college (she herself graduated from a liberal arts college), it was in the midwest and was intrigued by the shared governance. Everybody at Earlham has a voice, which was evident from her interview process in which people from various departments were involved.

What are some highlights from your time at Earlham?

Kathy stated that she gets excited about every new academic year. Each year brings a new class, new opportunities, and new chances. Graduation is always exciting as well. Specifically, she enjoys the new opportunities for change, as it allows us
to ask, “How do we work with this?”

What advice do you have for students regarding their finances?

Be thorough. Don’t assume that just because you have an award, it won’t change. When your circumstances change, get in contact with financial aid. Stay in communication with your financial aid office.

What is one common mistake you see students make when it comes to financial aid?
For Indiana residents, not filling out the FAFSA on time. For everyone, not checking in when your circumstances change. Make sure to check in because sometimes we can make a difference in a positive way. When things are going badly financially, don’t hide! Our first instinct when we are having financial issues is to hide and ignore it; ignoring it will only make it worse. Reach out to a professional, whether it be a tax consultant, your student loan servicer, etc. Approach the issue at the beginning of the problem, not later.

What do you think needs to be improved at Earlham?

No matter where you are, it’s going to be communication. We work very hard on it, but it falls short sometimes; this improvement goes both ways. As a student or as faculty, communication needs improvement. There is always room for improvement; dissatisfaction often comes from a break in communication.

How do you feel about The Word coming back and how do you think The Word will impact the Earlham community?

I’m thrilled The Word is back; it serves as a wonderful resource for great communication between the students and the community at large. This communication also hits a little harder since it’s in writing. It shows we’re all thinking of the same things but in different ways, which is the beauty of Earlham.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *