“I try to place myself in their shoes”

Pansy Hines is always a smiling face in CSU’s Financial Aid Office. “I try to be sympathetic, understanding, and very patient.” (Photo by Brian Roberts/The Bent Tree)

Her desk is covered with thank you cards and flowers from students. She ensures that each person entering the financial aid office with sorrowful looks leaves with a smile. Her name is Pansy Hines and she is a financial aid representative who expresses as much compassion towards students as her own children.

“I try to place myself in their shoes,” she said. “Sometimes people just have a lot going on in their lives. The financial aid process isn’t easy for some students, so I try to be sympathetic, understanding, and very patient.”

Although Mrs. Hines has been assisting students at Clayton State for less than a year, many students request her by name. Her determination to help students resolve their financial aid issues has given hope to those, who before meeting her, felt hopeless.

Mrs. Hines
Mrs. Hines

“When I came into the office, I was worried about my financial aid status,” said Brandon Tetro, a CSU sophomore. “She made me feel like my problem was her only concern in the world.”

Mrs. Hines has always enjoyed helping others. She has worked in the customer service industry for more than 35 years. Her dedication stems from her own experience as a parent of two former CSU students.

“I try my best to keep students and parents informed about financial aid,” she said. “When my sons started college, I was asking the same questions that many parents are now asking me. I know exactly how they feel, because I’ve had to walk in their shoes.”

“She is unbelievably awesome” said CSU sophomore Ryan Belom. “I ask for her when I go to the office because she makes me laugh and I feel at home.”

Mrs. Hines is recognized by her coworkers as a wonderful addition to CSU’s financial aid team.

“Many words come to mind when I think of Ms Hines,” said Gina Nolan, a coworker.  “She is dependable and has a very strong work ethic. When you work as closely as we do, these qualities are essential, especially when it comes to having a good team. To some students, she is their personal counselor, mother, sister, and to me she is a friend.”

At the beginning of each semester, hundreds of students visit the financial aid office.  Most of the information requested is available to students online. Mrs. Hines advises students to keep track of their financial aid using the DUCK. She urges students to complete their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), each academic year, as soon as possible.

“The process usually takes about six to eight weeks,” said Mrs. Hines. “It breaks my heart to tell students that their funding won’t be available in time to pay for their courses because their information was not completed on time.”

Mrs. Hines makes each student feel like her personal friend. She’s informative and demonstrates genuine concern for students. “It’s my duty to assist the students with their financial aid concerns, but it’s my pleasure to make them smile while doing it”.

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