It has been over a month since President Gainous announced at the first convocation of the academic year that refund checks would be in the mail by Sept. 1.
Although over 80 percent of the students who receive financial aid received their money on time, others are still waiting for their first check. Some of the students who did receive their refund, got duplicate checks and are being asked to return them.
Vice President of Administrative and Financial Services Larry Reese said, “The University’s Office of the Controller was responsible for sending out duplicate checks to students. The checks were ordered twice and no one checked the check register, which would have caught the problem before it started.”
“This was a breakdown in controls. The employees were under a lot of pressure to get students their financial aid out in a timely manner,” Reese said.
Students were informed immediately of the mistake and were contacted via e-mail, letter and phone.
“The students have been responding well to the request of returning the checks. This wasn’t a major problem, but the problem has been addressed,” said LaNedra Carroll, the director of public affairs.
Alicia Green, 22, a senior business administration student from Detroit said she was affected by the system mishap.
“I did not receive a duplicate check, but because of this mix-up I haven’t received any financial aid,” Green said. “I have been given a short-term loan to pay for my rent and electricity, but I have other bills. I have bills to pay and other responsibilities that I need to take care of.”
The administration still has faith in the new system.
“The PeopleSoft system is as efficient as it’s supposed to be, but like any other university adjusting to a new system, some errors will occur,” said Patricia Green-Powell, vice president of Student Affairs. “Let’s not spoil the good news here, this software was launched 17 months prior to its initial date to go in effect and I think it has worked.”
The financial aid office has records of all 642 students who received duplicate checks. The students that fail to turn the duplicates in by the end of the semester will be put on hold, Reese said.
Because this was simply a mishap by the employees, the University does not want this incident to be considered as proof that PeopleSoft does not works.
“There is a steep learning curve with this new system,” said Bryan Terry, director of Financial Aid. “There has been a student financial aid advisory group established just for students to learn how to improve and comment on financial aid situations like this.”
Green-Powell said it would help if students would turn their FAFSA information in on time, instead of in July and August, to make it easier to manage the money situation and perhaps eliminate some financial aid hassle.
The administration says the University can recover from this mishap.
Reese said that like any other new system, improvements need to be made, but PeopleSoft will serve the students of Florida A&M University very well.
Contact Keith Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org.