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Kohles named director of financial aid office

Image with caption: Paula Kohles

Paula Kohles

Paula Kohles makes a mean pan of brownies.

She's great at driving a tractor and helping her husband Glenn whenever she can on her mother-in-law's farm in southwest Iowa.

Oh, and if someone needs help figuring out their financial aid package, she's great at that too, which is perfect for UNMC students since she's the new director of the UNMC Financial Aid Office.

"I really enjoy working with students and helping them navigate paying for their education and managing their loan debt after graduation," Kohles said.

It's a passion she's had the pleasure of pursuing for the past 36 years. First, as part of the work-study program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, then as her career progressed, she found herself working in the financial aid offices of the University of Nebraska at Omaha and Creighton University.

In November, Kohles joined UNMC.

"I'm excited to have the opportunity to work with graduate and health professions students in a meaningful way that helps them meet their career goals," Kohles said.

Her transition to UNMC has gone smoothly, Kohles said, crediting it to the mentorship of the former director, Judi Walker, who Kohles spent six weeks working alongside before taking the reins when Walker retired Dec. 31.

Since then, it's been the talented student success and financial aid teams who continue to support Kohles and make her work easier.

"They are a great group of people who understand the importance of our work and are dedicated to helping students succeed," she said.

There is a distinct difference between working with undergraduate and graduate students, Kohles said, because each group is in a different place in their academic career. Often, she said, the graduate level students have started families, which is an important factor to take into consideration.

"You just understand how different the needs are between the two groups of students," she said.

Since coming onboard, Kohles said she has been looking at everything from the current policies and procedures to the financial aid website to see if there are ways to make student-friendly improvements.

Small nuances can be tweaked, Kohles said, to help students so they don't have as many hurdles to overcome.

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