Missing loans baffle students

Because of a glitch in the computer systems within the Office of Financial Aid, thousands of student loans were canceled.

Although some students are beginning to come forward to have their loans restored, there are still many students who are unaware.

Michelle Lassiter, associate director of financial aid, discussed the methods for financial aid input and where things went wrong.

“Because we have to service over 11,000 students we can’t put them in individually,” Lassiter said.

In order to effectively input all the money that has been awarded to students each semester, financial aid uses a software called PeopleSoft to package students’ awards.

According to Lassiter, in November 2006, after the software ran, thousands of loans were canceled.

Lenders queried their systems, found the glitch and reinstated what they thought was all of the loans.

However there are still some canceled loans that have gone unnoticed.

“From what I’ve gotten from the lenders, about 4,750 students were affected,” Lassitter said. “We thought the lenders had reinstated all the loans.”

Financial aid is trying to resolve the problem by restoring any and all loans that had been terminated.

In addition to reinstating loans, Lassiter said they are making sure students are still entitled to the money that was initially awarded to them.

“Departments are now turning over scholarships to us, and some people who have been awarded outside scholarships that exceed their balance are no longer eligible for other monies,” Lassiter said.

For the students who did not return for the spring, the canceled loans were not an issue.

But then there are students like Crystal Cleveland, 20, a junior political science student who had stagnant University charges.

Her loan had not been issued until Tuesday. She said her loan was canceled twice and she had to go back several times to ensure her loan was reinstated.

“The first time they canceled it they said it was an error and that I wasn’t supposed to receive the loan,” said Cleveland, from Mount Clemons, Mich. “I brought in the paperwork to show them that I was supposed to get the loan twice before they actually put it on and said that it was an error in their system.”

After a few days went by, Cleveland saw no changes and returned to find her loan still had not been reinstated. She went back to financial aid for a third time to get her loans restored.

Cleveland said she just received her financial aid three days ago.

In spite of Cleveland’s dilemma, Lassiter insists the University is doing its best to rectify the trouble.