If you have concern for a student and their financial stability, please connect them to the Working Students Success Network by filling out this short referral form.
Signs that a student may be struggling financially:
- Missing class
- Constantly asking for extensions on assignments and incompletes
- Tired (lack of eating, sleeps, stress)
- Unable to follow what the professor says in lecture
- Living off credit cards
- Taking care of family and/or has children
- Working part of full-time
BROACHING THE TOPIC & NORMALIZING SEEKING HELP
Break down the barrier that seeking help is “weak.” Use your own words, but read through these helpful responses.
“I’ve had many students before who have had similar challenges as yours. I can understand how stressful it can be. I’ve helped connect them to resources on campus that helped ease some of their financial stress. I know they’ve found it very helpful and allowed them to focus more on their schoolwork. I would be happy to introduce you to some people who I know can help.”
“Life is complicated. I get that. Most students today don’t have the simple luxury of just attending classes and then going home to study. Many of you have jobs, families, money worries, and car problems. Your financial challenges may make it seem like you are working harder to go forward only to find you’re stuck in place. We want you to know there are resources and steps you can take to gain traction, earn your degree, and achieve financial stability.”
“I know asking for help can be hard. When I’ve spoken in the past with students in a situation similar to yours, they found many of these resources we’ve discussed to lighten their burden and help focusing on school a lot easier.”
“Think of public benefits as another form of Financial Aid. It’s money to help pay for ‘life expenses’ during college and you don’t have to pay it back. This isn’t a permanent thing, but something that can help keep you on track for your degree.”
“Everyone needs financial coaching and help in planning their future. NOVA has resources that are essential survival tools to manage your finances in a way that gets you not just through school but moving ahead for life.”
“We’re working to provide complimentary supports that help you complete school and find your financial footing. We’ll make sure you know about things like emergency aid, food banks, help with transportation, day care, housing; help with filing taxes and FAFSA forms to make sure you can access what you need.”
“Our ultimate goal is simple. When you walk out our doors with your degree or certificate in hand, we want you to have a plan for your career or for more study, a sense of financial control for yourself and your family, and the stability that makes pursuing your dreams possible.”
ADD INFORMATION INTO YOUR CLASSES
- Syllabus Clause & Contact Information
- Schedule a WSSN Presentation
- Financial Coach Presentation & Short Meetings
- Extra Credit for Attending Events & Workshops
- Virginia Benefit Bank Quick Check
- Disseminate information on Food Pantries, Public Benefits Help, Financial Coaching, Free Tax Prep Workshops, etc. (Program Materials can be found in the “About” section of the website)
Discuss early-on in the semester that many NOVA students face various barriers while pursuing education — finances is a big one.
Communicate to your students you are there for them for more than a grade and that opening up to you foes not impact their grade – most students talk to a professor first.
Emphasize that NOVA’s goal is for all students to successfully obtain the degree they desire to become gainfully employed.