Accepting the fact that private schools cost a pretty penny, one would assume that the financial aid office would handle money matters with care. But think about it, just how many horror stories have you heard or experienced?
The current tuition for the University of La Verne stands at a grand total of $9,750 per semester for undergraduates.
That equals to $19,500 per year. Give or take a few bucks, you could buy a car for every year you attend ULV.
So why is it, then, that our money is handled so carelessly at the financial aid office?
Some students turned in their paperwork at the beginning of August, before the fall semester to find out two days before classes began that they had a balance, and not just a couple of bucks either.
If you cannot relate to that one, try this one. Another student turned in his paperwork ahead of time. He submitted his loan conformation forms early so that he would not have to deal with the hassle later. But financial aid apparently lost his forms.
And yet another student was told that she had an outstanding balance in the four-digit range. This might have been a normal circumstance if the money being asked for had not been money that was supposed to be given to the student as scholarship money.
They told her that ULV had over-awarded money, and that is why they were charging her.
That means that money some students were dependent upon to come here was taken away because, “Oops, we estimated wrong.”
And what about those times when students pay in full, only to find out later that they mysteriously have a balance of $125 on their account?
That is a lot of money to many poor college students.
Then there are the Trustees, Founders and 1891 awards to consider. The admissions office sometimes gives prospective students fliers about these awards. The fliers say that the student will receive an award of up to $8,000 based on incoming grade point averages.
Little do the incoming students know that they may receive only a fraction of the amount promised. (There are no fliers, pamphlets or contracts that explain why this is.)
Another interesting thought to ponder is that ambiguous 800 number that students are required to call to get financial aid assistance.
According to some students, when they call the number and then ask to be transferred you to student accounts, they are not.
To get to the root of some of these serious problems, it would be worth taking a look at the controversial financial aid director situation.
Or, more accurately, interim director.
The last permanent one, Mary Lindsay, stuck around for less than a year.
The Campus Times, in fact, has tried to find out what is going on but our questions were met with, well, little candor.
So, on behalf of the Campus Times and, we believe, much of the student body, we ask for some communication from those whose financial decisions so closely impact our education.
Students are always asked to communicate with their professors or classmates when they have questions.
We suggest the same concept for the departments in Woody Hall.
If Woody Hall administrators could communicate with each other, too, we think that would help.
You work in pretty close quarters, after all.
This way students would not have to run back and forth between financial aid and student accounts to clear things up.
For many of us, financial aid and the amount we receive, actually determines whether or not we can enroll in classes and eventually graduate.
In fact one of the most common reasons students give for leaving before graduation is financial difficulties.
We know that some of you working in financial aid understand and are trying to help.
For that, we thank you and appreciate it.
It is a shame, however, that the mistakes and missteps of a few people can have such serious effects on some student’s educational experiences.