Reinstate Stritch Financial Aid Department
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We petition the Stritch administration to reinstate the Director of Financial Aid, Donna Sobie.
As students and alumni, we were very upset to hear about Stritch’s decision to eliminate their on-campus financial aid department. This department, headed by Donna Sobie, has consistently been one of the most helpful resources Stritch has offered its students. The financial burden on today's medical students is overwhelming, often approaching as much as $300,000 without accounting for undergraduate debt. The total amount of debt that Donna helps Stritch students manage at any one time is well into the tens of millions of dollars.
Donna possesses an incredible knowledge of financial aid options specific to graduate and medical students. She expertly optimizes each student's financial aid package with the lowest interest rates available, knows the ins and outs of DOE vs. private loans, constantly remains up-to-date about the latest in government loan repayment and forgiveness programs, candidly discusses with students the best ways to handle deferment and consolidation, and has helped many cash-strapped students in rough circumstances find extra loan or grant money as needed.
What's more, Donna actually cares about the students at Stritch and knows many of us by name. It was a comfort as well as a huge time-saver to have her available to us on campus, and the value of having someone we know and trust present for advice and assistance any time cannot be understated. For us alumni, having compared our experiences with those of our fellow residents, we realize Donna's exit interview was leaps and bounds beyond those at other schools and even the one offered by the AAMC representative, both in the amount and quality of information as well as the clarity with which it was presented.
We understand that Loyola's budget is tight, but we feel strongly that you should not eliminate this essential resource that saves students time and money. Having this department on campus to help students manage their financial burden was a testament to Stritch's student-centered philosophy, and Donna's knowledge and experience have been an indispensable resource for so many of us. We would like to see Donna's position as Director of Financial Aid reinstated, and perhaps even expanded to encompass the needs of our now on-site nursing students and any other graduate-level students training/studying at our Maywood campus. Graduate medical student debt and financial aid is not the same as that of the undergraduate campus, and its magnitude justifies having an on-site expert available to support students through the stress of managing their debt.
For those of us who have completed our education at Stritch with the constant support of Donna Sobie, it is clear she is the best person for the job. We hope you will allow her to continue serving as a resource for future students, continuing with the tradition of being a student-centered organization.
Thank you for your time and understanding,
The undersigned Stritch School of Medicine students and alumni