Financial aid launches first social media campaign

Department tries to boost presence, ‘connect’ online

By Cody Casares, Photo Editor

For the first time, the Financial Aid Office has established a foothold in the social media world.

“Five months ago we didn’t have a social media presence,” Financial Aid Supervisor Monica Rodriguez said. “We’re trying new ways to connect to students.”

The department established its social media presence last spring, Student Services and Instructional Support Coordinator Charles Ramirez said.

Ramirez is in charge of the financial aid social media accounts.

“Our goal is to provide an avenue to access deadlines, appeals, and new regulations to keep students updated,” he said.

“Students don’t know where to find the information they are looking for and the social media accounts provide an avenue for them to find those answers that they are always on anyway,” Ramirez said.

Rodriguez said the department created Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts in order to reach a variety of students to provide information for them.

The different types of information are posted on the three accounts range from deadlines for financial aid paperwork, workshop times and events hosted by the department.

Rodriguez said the information offered to students spans beyond financial aid based information with posts of lab hours, selfies and videos taken at campus events and also non-financial aid department organized events.

A Snapchat account is expected to join the ranks to strengthen the social media presence soon. She said, “We want it to be a well-rounded social media presence where we are not just spouting out information. We want two-way communication.”

Ramirez said financial aid is also looking to host live broadcasts where students can chat with a financial aid representative and have questions answered in an expedient manner.

“We’re looking to have interactive Q&A where we can broadcast live and answer questions that students have,” he said.

Students sometimes have to wait 15 minutes or more in line at the financial aid desk to ask a simple question, and the Q&A will eliminate the wait time and answer basic financial aid questions on demand, Ramirez said.

The plan is to utilize all three social media outlets to do the live broadcasts by establishing a predetermined period of time where a financial aid representative will be managing the accounts, answering the questions students post as they flow in, Ramirez said.

Based on privacy issues students will be limited to general questions like important dates and general instruction of how to properly fill out forms avoiding posting personal information on social media, he said.

The Facebook account has captured 269 likes, with Instagram garnishing 196 followers with 148 posts since last spring. The Twitter account has 94 followers as of press time.