By Martin J. Kidston
Montana State University-Northerns new Director of Financial Aid officially took her position this month to head the department responsible for making higher education a reality for many students.
A former student at Northern Montana College, Kris Dramstad has climbed the ladder to become MSU-Northerns latest appointee to a permanent high-level position.
Dramstad graduated from the school in the late 1960s and began work at the institution in 1971, she said. Since then, she has watched the school grow from a sparsely populated college into a growing university.
The school has changed tremendously, Dramstad said. We used to have 700 students in a single session, now were pushing 1,600.
Holding a BS degree in technology and a minor in computer information systems, Dramstad takes her role as director seriously.
As director, I oversee the operation and supervision of the employees in the office, while ensuring compliance with federal, state and college regulations and policies, Dramstad said. Actually, I make sure we dont pay somebody who doesnt deserve it.
Supervision aside, Dramstad said she councils students by helping them find ways to pay for their college education. With the financial help resulting from Pell grants, state grants, supplemental grants and tuition assistance programs, Dramstad said that financial excuses shouldnt keep anyone out of college.
To those that say they cant afford to go to college? I would tell them theres a way, Dramstad said. There might not be any free money for them, but the loan programs are there for them, and the loans are not always tied to a need-only basis.
Dramstad is not green to her new position as director of financial aid. Rather, she draws from a long history of experience that spans nearly 20 years.
I worked in Financial Aid for 18 years, and was responsible for student loans and Pell grant programs, Dramstad said. I reconciled all the funds as we spent them to make sure we didnt overspend, and I have helped with the duties as director.
Dramstad has served as interim director of financial aid for the past year. She was officially appointed to the permanent position on Aug. 2.