Avila University
AU Spotlight
Submitted April 15, 2009
Merz focuses on the Students

Nancy Merz
Director of Financial Aid
Member of Avila since 2008

With 97% of incoming full-time, first-year students receiving financial aid, Director of Financial Aid Nancy Merz is always busy, but her door is always open to the students.
Joining Avila in December, Merz is one of the newest staff members on campus, but that hasn’t stopped her from getting to know her Avila family. Merz said that likes Avila’s size because it allows her to know her students and celebrate their successes.
“I don’t ever want to lose sight of the fact that the students are the reason that we are here,” Merz said. “I want them to know that they can come to Financial Aid and seek assistance.”
Assistance is what she and her staff provides. The average financial aid awarded is $11,000 and Avila awards $3.4 million in scholarships every year. Merz is focused on helping every student, helping them to reach their goals.
“This is going to sound cheesy, but I love it when I know that we have helped a student who truly thought that there was no hope,” Merz said.

"I don't ever want to lose sight of the fact that the students are the reason that we are here."

Merz’s dedication to her students has shown through in her recent accomplishments. Merz was elected to the Rocky Mountain Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators Board of Directors and was also asked to serve on the USA Funds Advisory Council. She also worked with the Department of Education to allow the TEACH Grant to be awarded at Avila and now is working with Veteran’s Affairs to bring the Yellow Ribbon Program and the new GI Bill to Avila.

When she’s not busy caring for Avila students, Merz is caring for flowers in her yard at home.
“I love to have flowers growing in my yard,” Merz said. “However, I don’t especially like to plant the flowers, so I buy them and my husband plants them. He is an awesome man.”
Merz said that her husband usually starts out fine, but by the end of May, he starts to ask if he can go along to the nursery. With a smile she said that’s his way of quietly saying, “Honey, enough is enough.”
Merz also stays busy participating in area 5k runs, volunteering for the American Cancer Society and The Komen Race for the Cure, and traveling with her family. Last summer, Merz toured Europe and her next big trip planned is to Australia during the summer of 2010.  AU