NEWARK ― She thought she’d go one direction, then changed course in college.
“I had a good childhood,” remembered Faith Phillips, “growing up in a small town in the 70s and 80s when life was a little easier. I thought I would be a teacher when I grew up because I liked babysitting and working with children. And honestly, in a small town, I didn’t really experience many other professions. However, while I love working with children, I knew I was not destined to be a teacher. I had no idea at the time I would find a career in higher education as a financial aid director.”
Today, Phillips is director of student financial services at COTC and OSU Newark.
“I oversee financial aid and student billing,” she explained. “We work to ensure that finances are an understandable and manageable for students at COTC and OSU Newark, not a barrier.”
Phillips was born in St. Louis, Missouri, but grew up in Wapakoneta. “Yes, the home of Neil Armstrong!” she declared. She graduated from Wapakoneta High School in 1986, “and knew,” she added, “almost everyone in my graduating class of about 350.” She then graduated from Ohio State in 1990 with a degree in family relations and human development – and worked in the financial aid office for all 4 years.
“With a degree in family and youth counseling,” she said, “I began working in a youth shelter in inner city St. Louis, counseling teenage runaways. This was very challenging emotionally and I knew I was not meant to do this long-term. After one year, I found my way back to higher education and took a job in the financial aid office of a small proprietary college in St. Louis. My career progressed over the next several years in financial aid working in Houston, South Carolina and then Iowa City.”
“In February 1997,” she added, “I moved back to Ohio to take the position of financial aid director with COTC/OSU-N. I loved the size of the campus and knew this was going to be a good fit. And of course, I was excited to go back to Ohio State, my alma mater.”
David Brillhart, vice president for business and finance at COTC and senior fiscal officer at OSU Newark, has worked with Phillips for more than 25 years.
“Faith has demonstrated on every level her dedication to students and her profession,” Brillhart assessed. “She won COTC’s highest honor, the Legend of Loyalty Award. She is well-regarded both on campus and in local schools, where she frequently gives presentations to high school students and their families to demystify the college financial aid process.
“She’s built a team that is student-focused and committed to outstanding service,” Brillhart continued. “In 2021, she was presented with the Alex Murdoch Service Award by her peers in the Ohio Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators for ‘putting her whole heart and soul into her community and the association.’ Her positive ‘can-do’ attitude de ella combined with her commendable work ethic de ella make her a pleasure to work with. ”
“I love what I do!” Phillips answered. “I’m blessed beyond measure that I get to do what I do for a career every day. I’m fortunate to work with a supportive boss and mentor. I’m lucky to work with an amazing team in my office daily. And I’m fortunate to make an impact in the lives of students by helping them access financial assistance. I’m 100 percent pleased with where life’s path has taken me.”
For more information
Central Ohio Technical College and OSU Newark are located at 1179 University Dr. in Newark. For more information, log on to www.cotc.edu and/or www.newark.osu.edu.
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