Fred Holding

January 29, 2019

As director of the Office of Scholarships & Financial Aid, Fred Holding juggles responsibilities, budgets and regulations, among other things. But multitasking was a skill he mastered early on. Holding grew up in rural Granville County, NC, and frequently drove a tractor, picked everything from okra to strawberries, and fed horses on his family’s farm.

"Farm life – and seeing my mother juggle 30 years of working third shift, helping on the farm, and taking care of kids and her parents through the day – are certainly the source of my strong foundation and drive," he said. "There were times in my adolescent years that I absolutely hated farm life. However, that foundation of hard work is what has kept me humble and is what has prepared me for the demands and challenges of this role. I’m grateful for that experience and wouldn’t trade it for the world."

Holding served as assistant director of financial aid at Duke University before joining UNCW in 2013 as the associate director of financial aid. During his tenure as associate director, he managed the office’s customer service unit and made significant improvements to its phone system and communications to families. He was named UNCW’s director of financial aid in 2016.

The task Holding enjoys the most is helping students access education.

“I find great satisfaction in being able to explain a process, educate them or provide guidance to allow them to qualify for additional funding,” said Holding. “These in-person discussions, phone calls or late-night emails can be the difference in a student choosing to attend or being able to stay at UNCW versus choosing to attend another institution or return home.”

Holding and his staff plan to expand their outreach to parents and students, and have started a focus group with student leaders to discuss financial aid at UNCW.

“My hope is that outside of the federal, state and institutional regulations that drive all our financial aid processes, students know that our office cares about them and we will do anything in our power to help make UNCW affordable or to help them understand that perhaps another school is a better fit,” said Holding. “As a financial aid administrator, it’s very important that students find the right fit and that they can afford, not only to start, but also to complete their degree.”

-- Venita Jenkins