Student and Academic Life

What You Need to Know About the Financial Ombud Office

The Financial Ombud Office is located at 6 Funkhouser Building and is open Monday through Friday 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
The Financial Ombud Office is located at 6 Funkhouser Building and is open 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Mark Cornelison | UK Photo.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 8, 2019) — Students are always looking for ways to offset the cost of school, but some may not know where to start. That is where the financial ombud for the University of Kentucky, Nicholas Barnes, can come to the rescue — helping resolve students' financial situations.

UKNow caught up with Barnes to talk about what his role is and the impact an ombudsman can have on student success.

UKNow: What is a financial ombud and what is their role at a the university?

Barnes: The Financial Ombud Office provides guidance and assistance to students who have encountered financial difficulties, but only after they have met with their UK financial aid counselor. The ombud works with students individually to assist in student financial challenges affecting scheduled payments for tuition and fees to the university.

UKNow: When would a student use the services of a financial ombud?

Barnes: A student who is considering withdrawing from UK due to financial problems that affect payment of their tuition, housing and dining fees should contact my office immediately.

UKNow: What were the reasons you decided to pursue the career of being a financial ombud?

Barnes: I knew once the position was available it would be a perfect fit for me. I have been working in financial aid for the past nine years and have always had a passion for helping students achieve their goals in higher education. It is so rewarding being able to go home at night knowing that you helped someone in need.

UKNow: How does it feel knowing you are impacting a student's life and helping them reach their educational goals?

Barnes: It is the best feeling in the world when a student tells you that they truly appreciate your help.

UKNow: In your position, how important is it to build relationships with students, so they do decide to come to your office for help?

Barnes: I think it is very important to build a positive relationship with students so they feel comfortable coming to my office to discuss potential financial issues they may be having. It is important to me to make them feel like my office is a safe place to come and talk about everything that might be causing them financial stress.

For more information about the Financial Ombud Office and all of the services they provide visit www.uky.edu/financialaid/financial-ombud-services or email financialombud@lsv.uky.edu.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion three years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" two years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for four straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.