Fall is almost here, the leaves will be changing and recent high school grads are headed to college. It is an exciting time when parents are dropping their kids off at the dorms with a new 4 year challenge ahead of them. What they might not have known is that their first challenge may be harder to accomplish then class itself, the Financial Aid office. And students are taking to Twitter to vent their frustrations.
One student at a school compared the wait at the FA office to camping out over night for a video game release.
And this is an issue that is all over the nation. Many students are having some fun with the waits but the tone and the message is the same, there has to be a better way.
Overall this is a bad situation for students and parents who are having to wait in long lines to get answers to questions that are very simple. Answers that could be answered by simple logic and algorithms if technology were used instead of the long overdue for an upgrade process of pen and paper, scanning and faxing.
And it’s not just students on campus, there are similar problems happening for students who are enrolled in college online programs and have to call into the FA office.
And while financial aid is a necessity to most students (over 80% of students)¹ there are approx. 30% of those students who are selected for Federal Title IV Verification to make sure that the information they put on their FAFSA is correct. This process can be very daunting and create even more hurdles and wait times for students in the Financial Aid office.
The worst part is that this process can cause damage to students and their path to graduation and really slow them down. One of the increasing reasons that students are applying for colleges and not attending is the frustrations with financial aid processes.
The unsung heroes of all of this is the Financial Aid Office employees, these are people who work long hours and overtime to help these students, the people who truly care about the issues that the students are having. Unfortunately for some they are just caught in a process that has been the same for 30+ years with little to no technology to help with the tedious process for financial aid and verification. To the schools who have fixed these issues and have made this easy for students, we applaud you because students have enough to be stressed over at this point in their life, financial aid should not be one of them.
Good luck students and financial aid staff!