FAMU students had an easier time dealing with book vouchers this semester due to a newly implemented online voucher system.
The new online book voucher system, which can be accessed through http://www.famu.edu, was available for students from Dec. 20 until Jan. 10. Once a student filled out their voucher request, they received an e-mail confirmation and in three business days later, they received an e-mail saying they could use their vouchers.
Johnoson Crutchfield Sr., the director of student financial services, said student financial services have wanted to do online vouchers for the past couple of years, but could not due to lack of resources.
The online voucher was a result of “a direct need to get students out of line,” said Crutchfield.
“It took students too long to stand in line, and they couldn’t do their other activities.”
Although vouchers were available at student accounts and online, all of the nearly 2800 students who got vouchers got them online.
“[The vouchers were] available for both, but we wanted to encourage students to go online,” Crutchfield said.
Some students like Tiquanza Martin, 23, were initially skeptical about getting their vouchers online. Martin was surprised when she got her confirmation e-mail and her voucher actually worked.
“The new system has so many glitches and errors, so you never know,” said Martin, a third-year pharmacy student from Miami.
Students found applying for an online voucher was easy. Students were asked for very little information since they were already at their OurFAMU account.
“I went online and I just followed the instructions,” said Lisa Kerr, 19, a freshman pharmacy student from Miami.
“A couple days later, they told me the book voucher was on my card.”
Kerr was a part of a number of students who received their vouchers earlier than expected.
“(The Web site) said that it would take up to three days, but it did it in two,” Kerr said.
Although Martin and Kerr were impressed with the voucher system, both agreed student financial services could have done a better job at letting students know that online vouchers were available in the first place. They suggested that student accounts send letter or e-mails to inform students.
“We weren’t sure we were going to be able to get it done this semester, so we didn’t advertise,” Crutchfield said.
However, once the system was in progress, he had no doubts about the system’s success.
“Because I was personally involved in testing it, I knew it would work.”
FAMU Bookstore manager Angela Williams noticed how well the vouchers worked in favor of the students.
“It seems to be easier to do it online from a students standpoint,” said Williams, who also pointed out that the lines were shorter in the bookstore.
“It seems to work really smooth once the word gets out.”
Williams said that there were no big problems regarding the vouchers. There were only a few minor problems that were later resolved.
“There were a couple (whose) money wasn’t on their card yet,” Williams said.
“But once they went to student accounts, it was taken care of.”
Student financial services is planning more projects to better help FAMU students. Crutchfield said that there is a pilot cashier’s office on the corner of Gamble St. and Wahnish Way Crutchfield said students and staff can go there to pay fees instead of always having to walk to Foote-Hilyer.
Student financial services is also trying to get net check deposited into students’ accounts at a bank of their choice.
Contact Brandon Oliver at firstname.lastname@example.org.