Students deterred, aid office lacking aid
April 12, 2007
Money makes the world go round, no matter how much certain individuals try to fight this fact.
In order to make money, we have to spend a fair amount, especially in order to get an education. It is our hope that by getting an education, we will be let loose into the real world with opportunities falling at our feet. Our thought is that we spent the money already, and so now it is our turn to earn it.
Paying for college is a burden on every student, even those who have enough cash sitting in the bank to cover tuition costs. Figuring out the costs, where the money is going to come from, deadlines, which financial aid forms are needed and who all of this gets turned in to, is a battle in and of itself.
There is an office on the third floor of North Hall called financial assistance, though it is in our experience that assistance is rare or forced when actually provided. Paying for school and receiving financial aid are two of the most crucial aspects of getting a college education. Without either of them, becoming educated would be next to impossible.
The financial aid process is not a simple one, with several forms and many hoops to jump through before everything is completed. The most accessible source for information is the Internet, yet the financial assistance Web site has links to the FAFSA form and other “useful resources,” yet does not clearly map out a stepby- step procedure for the entire financial aid process.
It would be easy to overlook the fact that the Web site is not very “useful” at all if procuring valuable information, whether by phone or in person, was as simple as making contact with the office, but it isn’t. Though the staff must hear the same questions day after day from students that oftentimes make several trips to their office each semester, watching their eyes roll and being snapped at does not help our process.
Quite possibly there would be less ignorant students if the office wasn’t an intimidating place to stop by and if we felt that by stopping, someone would willingly answer the questions.
The truth is, though, financial aid is grueling. Whether for a veteran student or someone right out of high school, the procedures are similar and just as daunting. It is a process that takes time to learn and it is impossible to get through without the help of a trained staff. Maybe it would go more smoothly if the student workers were more thoroughly trained to answer our financial aid questions, or if the staff appeared less bitter toward the students stopping in.
We won’t stop and do things right if we’re treated as though we are causing a burden, and then nothing will get done correctly from the start.
The overall process will stay just as tedious on both ends unless something changes for the better.