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Posted Oct. 9, 2009

Hulvey Brings Breadth of Knowledge as New Director of Financial Aid

Jennifer Hulvey

Jennifer M. Hulvey, a financial aid professional with 18 years of experience, has joined the Law School as director of financial aid.

“Jennifer brings a wealth of experience to our financial aid operation,” said Jason Wu Trujillo, senior assistant dean for admissions and financial aid. “She also possesses an entrepreneurial spirit and desire to improve our process.  I am very pleased she has joined the admissions and financial aid team.”

Hulvey most recently worked as a Student Financial Services lead analyst for implementing the Student System Project at the University of Virginia. She has served as an assistant vice president of student banking at Bank of America, as an acting and associate director of financial aid at James Madison University, and as a financial aid, student loan and management consultant in higher education.

Hulvey said she has always enjoyed working in financial aid.

“If you’re one of the people who love it, you talk about it all the time — you talk about it at breakfast, you talk about it at home, you talk about it over coffee.”

Her inspiration for working to help students fund their education came from personal experience. Hulvey grew up on a farm in southwest Virginia, and was one of the first in her family to graduate from a four-year college.

“One of the things I always thought I could do was help someone in that situation,” Hulvey said.

Hulvey started her career in financial aid at Southern Virginia College, where she was director of financial aid, and soon after joined James Madison University’s financial aid office.

She quickly found out that “I really, really, really love working with students.”

Since then, Hulvey also has developed extensive experience with the technical side of financial aid, most recently at the University of Virginia, where she helped design the financial aid element of the new PeopleSoft Student System.

Although she wasn’t working directly with students, “I realized I could help put together systems that would help a lot of students,” she said, noting that financial aid offices have come a long way in using technology. Now at the Law School, the Office of Financial Aid is on its way to being officially paperless by using software and other tools to process and manage student information.

Hulvey said that law students – like students in medical school or graduate business programs – need in-depth counseling because they often take on large loan debts.

“One of my major focuses is helping students control their debt levels so they can get their education, they can afford their education and they can have a life after law school that isn’t totally focused on how to pay their loans back,” she said.

Hulvey will also help guide students through probable changes to the student loan system proposed by the Obama administration that would eliminate bank and lender-based guaranteed student loans. The proposal instead calls for originating all loans under the government's direct loan program and requiring lenders and other contractors to compete to collect the loans once issued.

Under the new plan, “the availability of alternative loans is going to be questionable,” she said. Students may need additional borrowing beyond the proposed federal loan programs and “that’s going to be a particular challenge.”

Hulvey spent some of her first day on the job helping a student understand her options for managing her loan debt. The look of relief on the student’s face as she left Hulvey’s office was thanks enough.

“I went home and told my husband last night, ‘What a great first day of work,’” she said. “That’s what I still get my kicks out of, 18 years later — knowing that I helped someone in a really meaningful way.”