On-campus center always ready to help students

When Northern Kentucky University students are looking for guidance, be it for financial questions, tips on how to save money, or even help with getting textbooks for classes, the Student Achievement Center is the place to go first.

The Student Achievement Center was set up in 2008 by an initiative between the Office of Student Affairs and the Board of Regents. Since then, the Student Achievement Center has been providing students with various forms of assistance to help them complete their degree.

“The main goal of the Student Achievement Center is for retention,” Mospens said. “It is for students who are having a difficult time completing their degree to come in and make an appointment.”
For nearly five years, Early Alert specialist Lisa Shewmon has been behind one of the Student Achievement Center’s secrets: the lending library.

“The lending library is one of our proudest accomplishments,” Shewmon said. “We started out with 40 books and now have about 600. Faculty, staff and students have all been very generous in paying it forward and donating books.”

When students have exhausted all other means of obtaining a textbook, the lending library is there for them to lend a textbook free of charge for the semester.

With a 95 percent return rate, the Student Achievement Center has no big problems getting the books back from students at the end of the semester. Shewmon and Director of the Student Achievement Center Susan Mospens said they trust students, and the program adds a level of comfort for those borrowing the books.

Along with the lending library, the center organizes other helpful tools for students. The center’s most recent initiatives are the Financial Fitness website and the “tip of the month.”

The financial fitness website was launched in August 2011 as a resource for students, educators and parents to find quick links to important financial information. For example, there is a link that directs students to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), links to information on scholarships and financial aid, and links to resources that help students take care of loans.

The tip of the month is another new part of the center, where students can submit tips in regard to different financial topics. For August and September, the topic stemmed from the question on how to save money on textbooks.
For October and November, the topic is how to save money on food on campus, or “frugal food tips.” The center will pick one of the entries at random, and that winner will receive a $50 gift card from Chartwells.

To submit a tip, email the Student Achievement Center at earlyalert@nku.edu by the end of November.
In addition to the financial fitness site and the “Tip of the Month,” both of which are part of the center’s financial literacy campaign, the Student Achievement Center offers more resources for NKU. Some of those include: the “one stop,” non-inclusive Early Alert program, which helps the average student with time management and financial issues and the program L.E.A.P. (Learning Experience and Parenting), which helps those students balancing school and parenting.

Although most students are referred by their professors, Mospens and Shewmon made it clear that they are happy when anyone comes by asking for assistance. “We’re not here to make judgments on who needs a book more than someone else … We are here for the students of NKU,” Shewmon said.