January 17, 2014

Financial Aid Spotlight: Director Lari Whitten


Lari Whitten, Director of Financial Aid

Every student who comes through the doors at the Austin campus interacts with our Director of Financial Aid, Lari Whitten, at some point during their education with us. We thought it would be a good idea to introduce you to Lari.

I had the chance of speaking with Lari today and asked her to speak about what she does here at the school and how her services can help students.

Escoffier: So, Lari, how long have you worked at the Austin campus of the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts?
Whitten: I have been at the school for almost two years.

Escoffier: Can you tell me a little about what you do for the school?
Whitten: I assist students in financing their educations. Financial aid can be a little intimidating at times. So I will help the student and parents with the FAFSA, answer their questions relating to their federal funds and explain how the financial aid process works.

Escoffier: What’s your favorite thing about working with students?
Whitten: When I work with a family who thinks they cannot afford school and they end up seeing that they can. We work through the process and then they realize, “YES, we can afford this.” I love seeing the smiles on their faces when the students realize their dreams now can become realities. The icing on the cake is to see the students walk across the stage at graduation knowing that I was able to help them achieve that goal.

Escoffier: Do you see students who come into the financial aid process with a lot of fears and anxieties?
Whitten: Yes, most students do have fears and anxieties regarding the financial aid process. I remind the student that because we are a small school, we will work with you and walk you through the entire process. The key is to communicate and complete all deadlines.

Escoffier: Is there any other advice you’d like to give to future students?
Whitten: Don’t be afraid to ask questions and communicate daily if this is what you need to feel at ease and to make the process go more smoothly. Remember, I am here to do the worrying for you.