Student News

Things you didn’t know about the Financial Ombud Office

aerial photo of UK's campus with W.T. Young Library in center
Mark Cornelison | UK Photo.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 25, 2023) — 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 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 13 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 or email

At the University of Kentucky, students are at the center of all that we do. From the moment you become a Wildcat through graduation and beyond, the Office for Student Success is committed to supporting you. Comprised of five areas and 25 units, together, they have one vision — to help students live a life of meaning. Student Success works through an equitable, holistic and inclusive lens to design and deliver unparalleled services and support a diverse community of learners in achieving their wildest ambitions. In the Office for Student Success this is what we do — this is who we are. You can explore resources available to you here. If you have additional questions, you can reach a Student Success team member by calling the helpline 859-218-YouK (9685).