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Here to Help: Michigan Student Financial Aid Association honors Kristi Welling for supporting students

June 2, 2023, GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- A state organization is recognizing Kristi Welling for career supporting Grand Rapids Community College students. 

Welling is GRCC's associate director of Enrollment Center Services, and was honored by the Michigan Student Financial Aid Association with a Distinguished Service Award.

“I am so honored to receive this award!” said Welling, who served as MSFAA president during the 2021-2022 academic year.

“I have spent 33 years as a member of the Michigan Student Financial Aid Association that works very hard to enhance student financial aid awareness, promote student access to postsecondary education and to provide professional development opportunities to its members across the state.” It is humbling to receive this award from my peers.”

The award is bestowed upon an individual that has provided significant and outstanding service to the profession.

“Working alongside financial aid professionals across the state that support each other is a blessing and an honor.” She said. “My life’s passion is to help students gain access to a college education.  I was first in my family to obtain a college degree and I know fear and anxiety that happens when you don’t have the supports available to be successful."

Welling said she strives to help students and other financial aid professionals to be successful.

“Being available, gracious, empathic and knowledgeable are attributes that I display when talking with the diverse population we serve in our MSFAA Association or the students we serve at GRCC,” she said. “People need support and grace when navigating the complicated world of education as well as the financial aid process.”

Welling started her career in 1988 at a small proprietary school in Texas and has enjoyed the environment and helping students understand the process of financial aid.

She worked at various institutions (Southwest Institute, Baker College and Albion College) before coming to GRCC 15 years ago to serve in the financial aid office.

Welling earned her Bachelor Degree in Business Leadership from Baker College with an associate degree in Sales and Marketing. She is also certified in Mental Health First Aid and enjoys helping students with enrollment and financial aid.