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Fireside Chat 3.0

By Ruby Churchill

A small group gathered for the second fireside chat of the spring semester. 


Simpson University—where there may be no physical hearth, but the warmth of delightful student banter more than compensates. In this conversation on March 21, 2024, financial aid woes meet scholarly aspirations. 


The gathering formed a cozy circle. Attendees included President Hall, Student President Brandon Hall, Shondra Dickson, and various faculty members. 


After introductions, Dr. Hall delved into the intricacies of university finances and tuition adjustments.  Dr. Hall also explained that the government has raised minimum wage, which decreases funds that were once available for other areas. 


“The government has got deeply involved in pressing up a lot of costs, a lot of auditing. Since I've been here, the cost of forced additional wage is nearly $3 million, and last year food and fuel went up $1.2 million,” Hall said. 


Enter Shondra Dickson—the financial aid maestro—armed with scholarships to battle the budgetary beast that is a 4-year-education. 


“This year was tough because the Department of Ed did the first major overhaul of the FAFSA financial aid process in 40 years,” Dickson said. 


Many other issues—financial or otherwise—were discussed. Simpson University is more than just a campus; it's a sanctuary of learning, love, and the occasional existential crisis over scholarship applications. 

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