Students thrown another curveball by financial aid

Florida A&M University’s Office of Financial Aid circulated a form Friday for students to receive refund checks on time. However, the form did not reach every student in need.

Financial Services said the Disbursement Authorization Statement form must be filled out for students who receive scholarships, grants and loans. The form provides two refund options, direct deposit or a check.

Once students sign the form acknowledging how they want their refund, the statement is kept on file and disbursement procedures will begin.

Some students did not know the form existed.

John Williams, 23, a history major from Baconton, Ga., did not recall a form existing until Friday, even though he said the cashier’s office told him the form was available online since the beginning of the semester.

“I checked ourfamu everyday…I saw it on Friday, but prior to that it was not there,” Williams said. “I have been at FAMU for six years and this form has never been circulated.”

Some students did not find out about the form until this past weekend.

“It’s not fair, because now I have to wait to pay for the rest of my classes and to get my books,” Vateshea Cure, 19, a second year psychology student from Miami said.

Cure is now worried that Florida A&M is going to charge a late fee because she is unable to pay tuition until she receives financial aid.

Complaints about the form reached Student Body President, Andrew Collins, 23, fifth year MBA student from Atlanta.

“I went down to the cashier’s office after many students complained about the new form. When I was down there, they told me that they will disburse the money in one- week cycles,” Collins said. “If students wanted to be in the next cycle, they should turn their forms in as soon as possible.”

No guarantees are made that students will receive refund checks on time, Collins said. The student must be awarded aid to receive a refund check.

He added that, “due to the large number of students who are on financial aid, filling out the form does not guarantee that students will get their money in the next pay cycle.”

Marcia Boyd, the Financial Aid Director, agrees.

She has stacks of documents that were just turned in last week and said when students do not turn in their documents in a timely manner they do not get processed in a timely manner.

“We need students to apply for financial aid early, the process starts in January, here we are in September with a thousand documents to process,” Boyd said.

She said her office has a limited staff of 23 people, who can’t help those that really need assistance.

Collins said students must complete all necessary forms to receive a refund check.

“The sooner students get their forms in the better,” Collins said.

Matters only get worse for students who are now unable to register because they do not have their financial aid.

Student Body Vice President Mellori Lumpkin, 21, a fourth year business administration student from Bainbridge, Ga., also expressed her concern for the issue.

“We (Lumpkin and Collins) are going to talk to fiscal affairs and the registrar’s office on Monday,” Lumpkin said. “We will see what we can do about the students who are now unable to register because of the financial aid issue.”

Lumpkin said after the meeting, she hopes “strategic communication on matters such as this,” will be established.

Any student that needs the form can go to and click on the Disbursement Authorization Form link.