Melanie Ruiz has been announced as the new director of financial aid at Bellevue College. Vice President of Student Services Ata Karim made the announcement to hire Ruiz in an email sent on Nov. 19.
The financial aid department has been without a director for a few months while the college searched for someone to permanently fill the vacancy. Ruiz, along with Bridget Baker, have served as interim co-directors during this hiatus and have ensured that operations ran smoothly.
“I think that we have managed quite well during that interim and we’re looking forward to improving our service and get students the financial aid they need,” said Ruiz.
The interim team has managed to keep things running smoothly in the financial aid office, even improving upon previous waiting times.
“Our average processing time in the past has been approximately 90 days, especially around the peak, the early part of fall quarter. We have now reduced that to about a week now. We have come a long way,” said Ruiz.
One factor that can be attributed to the interim co-directors’ success is the working environment. “The great thing about the school in general, and my department, is that we are a team. Wherever there might be something missing, we all pick up that slack and do what needs to be done. Because at the end of the day, we don’t want students feeling like there has been a lack of service,” Ruiz explained.
Looking toward the future, Ruiz said that, “We are going to keep on top of things as much as we can, look at ways to streamline or potentially automate our process, and do what we can to put the students first.”
Ruiz urges students to apply if they think they require financial aid and follow up with the financial aid office through the process.
“We are here to get students the financial resources to enable them to go to college successfully. Know we’re here to help,” said Ruiz.