The waiting game

Avery Leonard depends on the timely arrival of her net check.

She uses the funds to support herself, because she is responsible for providing her financial needs.

“I’m always thinking, ‘I’m going to get evicted. I’m not going to eat,'” said the 21-year-old senior from Ft. Lauderdale.

Thousands of students heavily rely on finding a net check in their mailbox. To prevent errors, however, various departments in the Foote-Hilyer Administration building must properly process funds.

Dolores Davis, director of the Office of Financial Aid, said several things are required before financial aid checks are disbursed.

Kelly Kindell, coordinator for Title IV Accounting and instrumental in disbursing funds, said the first step is to make sure students file their paperwork on time.

He said freshmen and other first-time borrowers must go through a 30-day waiting period before they can receive their funds. Davis said students must also attend class.

Davis said students who do not attend classes have their funds put on hold and she emphasized that financial aid files are edited before the release of monies.

One of the most important steps in getting checks to students is a thorough test run, said Davis. Davis said the financial aid office works with an “antiquated system” that has glitches. This means that the process is closely evaluated to avoid errors.

“We do a run, look at it, make sure we have met the compliances for the federal government and we make certain we don’t over award anyone,” she said.

Davis said the immediate goal is to run a check. If everything looks good, the office will start cutting checks.

Roudline Augustin found that small mistakes, such as a misspelling on her financial aid file, could postpone financial aid disbursements.

“I had to pay a late registration fee and I couldn’t get into the classes I needed,” said the 22-year-old junior health information management student from Hollywood, Fla. “I just hope they get it right and help (students) out more so they don’t have to go through this.”

Davis said net check runs are being done and the financial aid department is making sure anyone not entitled to a net check does not receive one.

“Over-awarding students and paying those not entitled could create a liability for the institution,” she said.