Faith Phillips is passionate about helping students find a way to access a college education. As the director of student financial services at Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) and The Ohio State University at Newark, she has made it possible for countless students to overcome financial barriers to degree completion. Recently Phillips was presented the Alex Murdoch Service Award by her peers in the Ohio Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (OASFAA) for putting her “whole heart and soul into [her] community and our association.”
“To be recognized by Andrea Morrow, the current president of OASFAA, with the Alex Murdoch Service Award was a surprise and huge honor. I firmly believe in the mission of OASFAA which is why I have been so dedicated in my service,” said Phillips. “To receive this distinguished award is an even greater honor because I personally knew Alex and couldn’t agree more with OASFAA’s decision to recognize his contributions and outstanding service.”
Phillips is well-regarded both on campus and in local schools, where she frequently gives presentations to high school students and their families to demystify the college financial aid process. She also received a 2020-21 Excellence Award from the League for Innovation in the Community College.
“I am so pleased that Faith received this award from OASFAA, but I am not surprised in the least,” said David Brillhart, COTC vice president and Ohio State Newark director of business and finance. “Over her career, she has consistently shown a tremendous commitment first to students but also to her profession. Both COTC and Ohio State Newark have benefitted greatly from having Faith on our team.”
One OASFAA member wrote, “Through her leadership at COTC [and Ohio State Newark] she has mentored many of her staff that have gone on to leadership roles at other institutions and many have held leadership positions in OASFAA. At least two people that started in financial aid under her went on to become OASFAA President themselves. Faith has found the perfect intersection of using all that OASFAA has to offer to build up her staff, and her current and former staff have gone on to build up OASFAA.”
Throughout her career at COTC and Ohio State Newark, Phillips has simultaneously been active in the OASFAA whose mission correlates with the goals of her role as the director of student financial services, she said. She served many roles at the organization including president, treasurer and co-chair of many committees. She served as a member of the conference planning committee several times as well as presented at many conferences and other training opportunities provided by OASFAA to the membership. She is currently the co-chair of the outreach committee, which serves as the primary source of financial aid information through a variety of activities and quality training programs to various entities and stakeholders who are external to OASFAA such as OACAC, admissions staff, high school counselors and access advisors.
“[Phillips] understands the importance of building relationships through OASFAA, helping to cultivate and prepare the next generation of possible leaders to make sure that we are all best equipped to help all of our students,” wrote another OASFAA member.
This student-centric focus that she shares with her staff is what has driven Phillips since 1997 when she began working for COTC and Ohio State Newark.
“I love what I do, and I love where I do it. It is that simple,” said Phillips. “I have been with the campus for 24 years because I find what I do rewarding. I put great value in the opportunity to serve two different types of institutions at the same time which opens up different doors for the students we serve.”
She added, “I have great respect for the leadership I serve and for the team that works with me every day.”
Alex Murdoch Service Award
The Alex Murdoch Service Award was established in 1999 to honor Alex, Associate Director of Financial Aid at University of Cincinnati, when he retired that year. The honor, first announced at Winter Conference 1999 as a tribute to Alex, is awarded annually to a member of OASFAA who has given outstanding service to OASFAA and its members. The recipient’s convictions and loyalty to OASFAA, have made it a better organization through their efforts and many contributions.
COTC is a fully accredited, public college dedicated to providing high-quality, accessible programs of technical education in response to current and emerging employment needs. COTC is the only technical college in Ohio operating four full-service campus locations: Newark, Coshocton, Knox and Pataskala.