Mary Robinson honored for commitment and dedication to Students at SMC

Mary Robinson, Director of Financial Aid at Samuel Merritt College (SMC), has been recognized and honored by the California Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (CASFAA) with the 2007 Independent Segmental Leadership Award.

"I was very surprised and honored to receive the award and I hope to have a few more years with CASFAA. "

Ms. Robinson has assisted students in filling out applications and receiving financial aid for nearly thirty years, but she credits the students as being the real heroes in this process.

"Our programs are so intense it's sometimes difficult for our students to work, and they need financial aid to help them through that. Some of them are single parents with children. They know they have to have financial aid or they won't be able to go through the program and it really amazes me what they give up and encounter to go through the program.'

Ms. Robinson began her career at SMC back in 1981 when at the time there were only 189 undergraduate students, one nursing diploma program and financial aid consisted of Federal Nursing Loan and Federal Stafford Loan and Cal and Pell Grant. Twenty-six years later, we now have 1,200 students, several undergraduate and graduate degree programs in five disciplines, more than two dozen financial aid programs, "it's been quite an experience.'

"We probably were processing $80,000 worth of financial aid back then, now it's over $40 million, mostly from student loans.'

Ms. Robinson credits not only the different options of state and government financial aid that are available, but also the increase of the College's scholarships, grants and gift aids given to the students that exceeds more than $2.5 million.

"It makes me feel so good when I see a student graduate after they have been here a few years and know that we in financial aid had a hand at helping them get there and if it wasn't for financial aid they wouldn't be where they are today.'

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