Financial aid delays leave students confused and upset

Story by Anna Karkalik

The Financial aid delays have left students waiting outside in front of the financial aid office uninformed when they will receive their money in the first couple weeks of the fall semester.

Moe’nae Bryant, a nursing major said, “I’ve been standing in line multiple times for them to tell me the same thing when I get up there.” Bryant also shares that she has “been in line before for 2 hours one time for them to tell [her] they couldn’t help that day.”

Bryant explains that during this process the people at financial aid explained to her that they made a mistake and did not send out a correct email. “There’s definitely a miscommunication,” Bryant added.

Dr. Mike Munoz, LBCC Vice President Support Services said in a statement, “Our staff is working extremely hard during our first few weeks of the fall semester. We dispersed our first round of financial aid to students on August 31 and the second round of September 7. We expect our next distribution this week. We are working as quickly as possible as we continue to accept new applications and receive the required supporting documents from students in order to process their applications.”

Some students waiting in the financial line say that they never received anything on either of the days the distribution occurred even though they received emails confirming their financial aid status.

The Vice President of Business Services, Marlene Dunn said, “ Students that have been approved their classes have been paid for. 80% of the funding have been released to students and the next 20% will be distributed by next week.”

Dunn also explains that the delays also depend on  the time of the year and the volume of applications they are receiving and shared that they recently had a system change.

“There is way more paperwork this semester than last time. It was never this difficult to get my financial aid it’s more work this time.” Jocelyn Gonzales a nursing major said while waiting in the financial line at LAC.

Michelle Lam an undeclared student said, “They really need to reorganize their system and how they deal with students because no one is really getting help waiting here.”

Lam shares the same frustration as other students of not being informed about what further information they need to provide to be approved for their financial aid.

“They told me they messed up on my parent files but I got emails and filled out all my forms during the spring semester. If they would have notified me about this earlier I could’ve turned everything in by then,” Lam said.

To accommodate the financial aid delays LBCC issued emails out to all employees addressing the situation directly and informing professors to allow grace periods in assignment deadlines. While some departments have reported that they have not had much if any lasting effects from the delays while others say differently.

“I typically ask students the first couple days if they have gotten their correct textbooks yet and 3 weeks in half still don’t have it. We’ve asked the publications we use to extend the free trial period for our students and some have extended it to 3 or 4 weeks instead of 2, ” Math Professor Jorge Ramirez said.

Ramirez shared that the Math Department received an abundant amount of concern from students that couldn’t get the required textbooks. To accommodated this issue the department had reached out to the publications they use so students could get the right resources and not drop their courses.

“They need to have more transparency with what they’re doing and update the students on it,” Ramirez said.

The Financial Aid Department continues to try and get the correct distributions out to those students approved for their financial aid and is aiming for this issue to resolved by next week, almost a month after the fall semester has started.