Student Services keeps money in order

Every college student knows paying for school is no walk in the park, but rarely do they consider the struggles of the people behind the scenes who are dealing with not just one student’s billing, but thousands.
The Castleton Student Services office deals with all things financial for the college, and it is not easy.
“Every penny that goes through the college goes through us,” said Pam Groesbeck, a Student Services consultant at Castleton.
The first thing they do when they arrive in the morning is deal with all the money, and they must account for every single cent.
At the same time, they are fielding questions and phone calls from confused students who don’t know why the have a balance and angry parents who can’t access their children’s accounts. According to Groesbeck, it’s not uncommon for parents to take their frustration out on the Student Services consultants who are trying to help.
When this happens, fellow consultant, Jean Bushee, said she goes for a walk around the building to calm down. But these skilled professionals are used to having these types of difficult conversations. Especially Betty Moyer, the school’s accounts receivable manager.  She’s in charge of making sure that every student’s bill gets paid.
“Somebody’s got to do it!” Moyer said. Hanging in her office is what looks like an eye examination chart, but when read closely you can see it says “I will not default on my student loans.” This is one of Moyer’s jobs, to help students work out a way to pay for college and apply for loans so that they can continue their education.
However, over the past 10 years that Moyer has been at Castleton, she has seen this task become harder and harder for students.
“The economy has made a big difference,” Moyer said.
She has seen the number of students who just can’t pay increase over the years. On rare occasion, she has even had to suggest to students that they leave school.
“There comes a point where it’s doing the student a favor … cut your losses and go now,” Moyer said.
Castleton typically doesn’t ask students to leave due to financial issues, but Moyer doesn’t think it will be that way for much longer.
“Down the road, I can see that’s going to happen more as the financial situation gets worse all around,” she said. “Unless people are independently wealthy… it’s hard.”
Although many of the conversations Student Services staff members have are difficult ones, their main goal is just to help the students, and that is what they do.
They work their hardest to answer all your questions, even the crazy ones like: “Where can I get a cake and balloons?” “Can I get a ride home?” Or, “can you tell me the train schedule?” Yes, these are all real questions they have gotten in the Student Services office, but they don’t mind.
“We want students to think they can come to us for anything,” said Bushee, “and if we don’t have the answer we’ll find the person who does.”

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