We’re not struggling with grades; it’s Financial Aid

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Imagine this, the fall semester is approaching and preparing for long days on campus with classes. BOOM! The student logs in to their iRattler account and notices that tuition is due. This scenario would make anyone crazy because they cannot control when their federal Pell Grants, other grants, and loans hit their account. 

Paying for college is not that hard when students are proactive and attentive in monitoring the progress of when their tuition gets paid. However, even that is not enough. 

A Health informatics and information management major student at Florida A&M University spoke about the lack of guidance from financial aid representatives. 

“There has been a lack of guidance with financial aid. I’ve always had to ask other students how to navigate the iRattler financial aid website,” the student said. 

The student would further explain the exhausting wait time when waiting to speak with a financial aid representative and how incorrectly disbursing Pell Grants and other funds for her tuition payments have applied to charges.

“Typically, something looks wrong one to two semesters a year, or the money doesn’t add up… When I call, I’m on hold for one to two hours, and they act like they only want to talk to me for five minutes,” the student said. 

Students revert to waiting on the phone for hours to get their problems resolved, but many may not know that each student is assigned a financial advisor based on the first letter of their last name. The best way to get a fast response is by emailing your advisor and cc’ing their superior. Also, take the initiative to see your financial aid advisor in person. 

The waiting game for some students for their aid to pay off their tuition is ridiculous. They would say it takes weeks or even months and multiple phone calls to the financial aid office to see their Pell Grants posted. How about disbursing students’ financial aid during the first week of school?  

Jordynn Johnson, health, leisure, and fitness student at FAMU gave her opinion on the reasonable way financial aid disbursement would make every student’s life easier. 

“In my opinion, the financial aid needs to be disbursed the first week of school. There’s no reason we should have a balance after the first two weeks,” Johnson said. 

Johnson would further explain that having at least four months of school. It should not take long for funds to be posted and tuition paid. 

 Students complain that financial aid services are not getting any smoother than promised. Students must remember that they are one of a thousand students dealing with the same issues simultaneously. 

Students must do their part and visit the university’s Office of Financial Aid website. Do not wait around, assuming everything will take care of itself. Take charge in asking the students’ assigned financial advisor questions and professionally communicate your problems.