New financial aid policy causes frustration among students

Alisha Drumm/Sun Star Reporter
January 29, 2013

As the spring 2013 semester enters its third week, many UAF students are growing impatient with the delay of their financial aid money. The Eielson building is flooded with students that form a line at the Business office, hoping to find answers to their financial aid concerns.

Starting this fall 2012, the Financial Aid and Business Office put a new financial aid policy into effect. In previous years financial aid has been disbursed to students 10 days prior to the first day of classes. The new policy disburses financial aid to students on the first day of classes. 

This new policy has caused some students stress and frustration as they wait for the arrival of their loan money.

Many students are falling behind in classes because they do not have the resources to purchase class materials. 

“I have had to deal with this practically every semester. Because I never get my loan money when expected I’m usually at least a week behind because I don’t have the money to buy the materials I need for my classes,” said Alex Thompson a sophomore chemistry major.

“For a system that is designed to help students, it is incredibly inconvenient and causes a lot of stress,” said Derek Williams, a senior Economics student.

“It is really irritating because I am currently receiving failing grades for assignments that I am unable to buy the materials for since I have not received my financial aid money,” Freshmen Ryan Andrews said.

Students did have the option to apply for an advancement of funding, which would place money on their Polar Express card to buy books from the UAF Bookstore. However, many students feel that this is an inefficient and unfair way to make up for loans being distributed late to students’ accounts.

“The only way that I knew about the Bear Bucks option was through word of mouth. I never received an email or notification about this option,” said  Corbin Gieck, a senior English student.

“I don’t agree with this option because it causes students to buy books from the bookstore opposed to getting them online for cheaper,” Williams said. 

Although many students are irritated with the outcome of this new policy, the Financial Aid and Business Office believes that the new policy is more efficient for everyone.

“The new policy was a mutual decision between the Business Office and ourselves. When we were disbursing loan money 10 days before  classes in the past, it was unnecessarily time consuming. Student’s change their schedules so often within the first few weeks of classes, and when this is done there is the issue of students spending money from their tuition for classes that they ended up dropping, and then having to pay it back,” said a representative from the UAF Financial Aid Office.

Not only is this new policy said to be more efficient by the Financial Aid and Business offices, it is also said to be just as time efficient as the old disbursement t policy.

“Usually, the state funding does not come in until a few days before classes start as it is,” said a representative from the Financial Aid Office.

Still, many students who are receiving Financial aid say that they prefer the previous policy of receiving financial aid 10 days prior to the start of classes.

“I would definitely rather have the money disbursed 10 days before classes,” said Kraig Smith a senior Linguistics student.

It is unknown whether or not this new policy will continue in future semesters. However, what is known is that some students are unhappy with the outcome of this new financial aid policy and the effect it has had on their college life. It is with wishful thinking that  in the future a new Financial Aid policy will serve both student with their academic and financial needs, and faculty with an efficient and effective way to disburse student loans.

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1 Response

  1. Dillon Ball says:

    A resolution has been introduced into the ASUAF Senate that if passed would officially state that the students of UAF oppose this change and believe that financial aid should be disbursed prior to the beginning of class.

    If you have an opinion on this matter and would like to have input on the process or testify about its necessity, please contact me at asuaf.vicepresident@gmail.com.

    I would like to make it clear to the administration that the current disbursement process is problematic.

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