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Patricia Hladio earns
Distinguished Service Award

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Patricia Hladio, Slippery Rock University director of financial aid, has received the Distinguished Service Award from the Pennsylvania Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. The award honors her leadership with the organization and commitment to helping students obtain financial aid.

"It is a true honor to receive this award from my peers across the state," Hladio said. "I have been inspired by so many and would not have had the courage to take on many of the roles I did within PASFAA had it not been for their mentoring and encouragement."

Hladio, who joined SRU in 1998, said she chose to work in financial aid because assistance made a difference in her life. Her father was a mail career and college was a financial strain on the family.

"Financial aid played a key role in affording me the opportunity to attend college," she said. "I was one of six children. When I entered college, I had two other siblings and my mom in college at the same time. But with financial aid, all six of us - and my mom - earned our degrees. I'll never forget how important need-based financial aid and the generosity of scholarship donors were in making my dream of college a reality."

More than 85 percent of SRU students - about 7,000 students - receive financial aid, Hladio said. The need has never been greater than during the current recession, she said.

"SRU and our financial aid staff are committed to helping our students find the resources they need to make a Slippery Rock education a reality," Hladio said. "Our staff members work hard to educate students and prospective students about financial aid options and the application process. The University continually seeks individuals and organizations which may be able to assist our students by creating scholarship opportunities."

Hladio supervises seven SRU employees, two student workers and a graduate assistant.

"It is very rewarding to work in financial aid, especially at SRU," she said. "While we obviously cannot know each student personally, we are fortunate to know a wide range of students whose stories inspire us to work as hard as we can. Watching students reach graduation and move on into their various professions reinforces for me the importance of our work."

Hladio, an Ambridge native, received her bachelor's degree in psychology from Allegheny College and her's master's degree in human relations from Amberton University.

Hladio has been a member of PASFAA, which advocates for financial aid, for nearly 20 years. She has served as president, a finance and development committee member, a conference presenter and most recently as coordinator of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid competition day workshops statewide.