Jenelle L. Handcox has been named director for the Office of Financial Aid at UNC Pembroke.
Handcox has worked in financial aid and admissions in higher education for 20 years. She comes to UNCP from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC), where she was director of financial aid and veteran’s affairs.
Jackie Clark, vice chancellor for Enrollment Management, said Handcox’s professional experience is a good fit for UNCP.
“Jenelle is a proven leader in operating a student-centered, efficient and effective Financial Aid programs,” Clark said. “Her knowledge and skills are exactly what UNC Pembroke and our students need during these difficult economic times.
“Increased accountability for fiscal management and promoting student success are the hallmarks of a comprehensive financial aid program,” she continued. “I am confident Jenelle will serve UNC Pembroke and our students well.”
With approximately 85 percent of UNCP students receiving financial assistance of some kind, the Office of Financial Aid plays an important role for students. One of Handcox’s first initiatives is to hire two new assistant directors and replace two staff positions.
“The staff and administration inside and outside the Financial Aid office are very open to new initiatives,” she said. “We all recognize this is a time of change.”
Technology education and improved communications with students will be critical, she said.
“Technology empowers students to work through the financial aid system online,” Handcox said. “Providing improved education will help our students understand the advantages and pitfalls of financial aid.”
The new director’s experience in higher education will also be an important factor.
“UNCP is very similar to ABAC, where 75 percent of students receive financial aid,” she said. “Like UNCP, ABAC is a regional institution that has experienced an era of growth, and like UNCP, the students are a mix of residential and commuter students.”
Handcox worked 13 years at ABAC, and before that, she worked seven years at South Georgia College as director of financial aid and as an admissions counselor and recruiter. She was active in university work and with the state association for financial aid professionals.
A Georgia native, she is a graduate of the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree. Handcox earned a Master of Public Administration degree from Valdosta State University.
Handcox was also active in the community with Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Georgia and Relay for Life.
“Whether it is through a church or volunteering in the community, I believe that giving back to your community is very important,” she said. “I was raised in a small community where civic engagement was particularly needed and meaningful.
Handcox is enjoying the campus community at UNCP.
“One of the things students consistently identify as a critical to their success is the personal touch that comes from a caring community of faculty and staff,” she said. “That is what I find at UNCP, and I hope to continue that tradition in the Office of Financial Aid.”