Jill Cashman FP '87 has been named director of financial assistance. From a part-time work-study job in the financial aid office when she was a Frances Perkins scholar, Cashman has risen to become the office's full-time director. Photo by Fred LeBlanc.
Cashman came to Mount Holyoke in 1984 as a Frances Perkins student, and her work-study job was in the financial aid office. After graduating with a history major, she became assistant director, was promoted to associate director in 1989, and--except for a brief interval in 1993 when she left to coproduce a video for the Everywoman's Center at UMass--has been part of the office ever since. Cashman became acting director when then director Kim Condon left the College this spring to attend graduate school.
The new director will oversee an office with a new name. The Office of Financial Aid has been renamed the Office of Financial Assistance, to reflect the broader range of activities now handled by its staff. "We now routinely discuss financing options with families, such as parent loans and payment plans, areas that go beyond the scope of what's traditionally been considered financial aid," Cashman explained.
The financial assistance office is now part of the enrollment management team, bringing with it a teamwork approach that Cashman "welcomes as it is more efficient, allowing us to rethink old practices and implement new procedures." Even the layout of the office has changed to be more open and welcoming. "I want the office to be a friendlier, more approachable place for students," Cashman says. "I want to demystify the financial assistance experience for students and their parents, to make sure that people understand that the process is not arbitrary, but carefully planned to be as equitable as possible."
She hopes to add a financial assistance peer counselor, more student workers, and community outreach programs to the office. "We're positioned to become a friendlier, more efficient, forward-looking office, and I'm eager to be a part of that evolution."