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Plymouth Whitemarsh High School

Plymouth Whitemarsh High School's Beth Lynch selected to participate in conference panel on financial aid

Plymouth Whitemarsh High School's Beth Lynch selected to participate in conference panel on financial aid

Plymouth Whitemarsh High School counselor Beth Lynch was selected to be a part of a panel discussion on the importance of financial diversity in the college admissions process at the Pennsylvania College Admissions Counselors Conference.

She was approached by Rory Sullivan from The College Funding Coach, Stacey Hewitt from Downingtown STEM, and Alyx Matchett from The PA Leadership Cyber Charter School to be a part of the panel. The group crafted a proposal to submit and was then invited to be a part of the conference that was held June 23-25 in the Poconos. 

About 40 professionals attended their workshop, which was titled “Funding Futures: Counselor Strategies for Year-Round Financial Aid Support.” During the workshop, they shared practical ideas with other counselors from high schools and colleges about how to help students navigate financial aid and find out how they can lower the cost of college tuition through methods beyond the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Other topics included scholarships, identifying schools, comparing aid offers, and how to make financial aid appeals.

“I am constantly pushing students to consider academic fit, personal fit, and financial fit when researching colleges, so developing a strong college list based on budget is part of that,” said Mrs. Lynch. “The sticker price is not always what you pay, so counselors can play a role in helping students find schools that may be more financially generous, playing to a student’s needs or academic/extracurricular talent.”

For example, Mrs. Lynch noted that she often counsels families on the financial aid appeal process. Every family has a unique financial situation, and while some may not qualify for federal aid, there are sometimes exceptions made for people who have extenuating circumstances. It’s important to find out from a student’s prospective college or university what the appeal process may be, she said, and to also learn about other options for aid. 

“(As part of the panel) I discussed circumstances that arise in which families can request financial aid offices to execute professional judgment (due to the loss of job, high medical costs, marital status change, reduction in work),” she said. “I also provided attendees with strategies to help their families approach the appeal process and websites where they could find templates or sample appeal letters to better guide their students through the appeals process.”

These documents are available to families of seniors on Mrs. Lynch’s College Counseling Canvas page.