Financial Aid Director Helps Inform N.C. Congressional Representatives

During a break from a financial aid conference she was attending in Washington, D.C., last month, PCC Financial Aid Director Lee Bray (right) takes a moment for a photo on Capitol Hill. Joining her are, left to right, Catawba College Associate Director of Financial Aid Sarah Hurley, Winston-Salem State University Financial Aid Director Robert Muhammed, and UNC-Chapel Hill Associate Provost and Director of Financial Aid Rachelle Feldman.

WINTERVILLE—When members of the U.S. House of Representatives discuss ways to improve the federal student aid program, a pair of North Carolina legislators can credit Pitt Community College Financial Aid Director Lee Bray with helping them become well-versed on the topic.

While attending the 2019 National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators Leadership and Legislative Expo in Washington, D.C., last month, Bray joined financial aid representatives from several other North Carolina schools in a meeting with staff from the offices of George Holding and Virginia Foxx. Holding represents North Carolina’s 2nd Congressional District, which includes portions of central and eastern N.C., while Foxx represents the 5th Congressional District, which covers the state’s northwestern corner.

“We focused on topics related to the proposed education bills that are being discussed in Congress, specifically the Faster Access to Federal Student Aid Act of 2018, which aims to simplify the financial aid application process, as well as income-driven repayment plans,” Bray said.

Discussion, she said, also centered on the possibility of eliminating loan origination fees, an idea included in the proposed reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, which was created in 1965.

“While talking about the Higher Education Act, which hasn’t been updated in 10 years, we also focused on flexibility for schools to limit student loan borrowing and continued funding for extremely important programs, such as Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants and Federal Pell Grants,” she said.

Bray, whose participation was sponsored by the N.C. Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, said she spent her first two days in the nation’s capital learning tips on transitioning into the role of financial aid director.