Financial Aid director Deborah Tollefson to retire

Posted on March 31, 2021

The following message was sent out to the University community on Tuesday, March 30, 2021.

Dear Campus Community,

It is with bittersweet feelings that I announce to you that after 27 years of dedicated service to UNC Greensboro and 36 years total in the financial aid profession, Deborah “Tolly” Tollefson, director of the Office of Financial Aid, will retire at the end of May. While I am very happy for Tolly to start a new chapter of her life, it saddens me that UNCG is losing such a dedicated and determined champion for students and a highly collaborative campus partner.

It has been my honor to work with such an expert in the financial aid field. Tolly is well-regarded by her peers on campus and across the state for creating an environment that upholds the stringent standards of federal financial aid while removing unnecessary barriers for our students. She has always been driven by a desire to simplify processes, and she holds a fundamental belief that administrative procedures should never be a barrier to keep students from attending college.

During her tenure at UNCG, Tolly oversaw a complete transformation of the Financial Aid Office – from a manual system that required shuffling paper checks to an automated system that facilitates both aid and billing functions. Thanks to her leadership, UNCG students can have aid awards applied directly to their student account, access their financial aid information 24/7 via UNCGenie, apply for emergency loans online, access a single application for all institutional scholarships, and get instant answers powered by our own AI Chatbot, “Minnie.”

Our university has grown stronger thanks to Tolly’s commitment to our mission, vision, and values. She has made a college education possible for countless students. We will always remember Tolly’s time with us with gratitude for her many contributions that have shaped UNCG’s present and future.

One of Tolly’s proudest achievements was the development of an expert staff that shares her student-centric focus. With this confidence, Enrollment Management has named John Lucas, current Associate Director of Financial Aid, as the Interim Director of Financial Aid for a one-year appointment. John is uniquely suited for this role, having spent 20 years under Tolly’s leadership in a variety of roles. His well-rounded knowledge of financial aid ensures that UNCG students will continue to be served by the department.

Tolly’s last day at UNCG will be May 31, 2021. Information about a retirement celebration will be forthcoming. In the meantime, please join me in extending best wishes to Tolly, our financial aid rockstar, as she begins her next chapter!

Warm regards,

Tina McEntire


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