Student takes financial aid to task about service quality

Dear Christine,

I am new to FAMU and I have a suggestion about the Financial Aid Services and student financial departments. I just spent over an hour trying to reach someone about a financial question I have and I never got one person on the phone, just a machine.

This has been going on for a while. I am a working student and don’t always have time to make it to Foote-Hilyer.

I have been there a few times and at this time it’s not that busy in Cashiering, Financial Aid or Student Financial Dept. Also I have seen and experienced firsthand how rude the people are answering the phone and if they are not rude they are rushing you off the phone or giving you the run around.

My suggestion is for The Famuan staff reporters to investigate this situation by doing a study or actually walking over there and calling them while you wait in line to see firsthand how they refuse to answer phones. I don’t know why they choose to have a student service position if they do not want to do their job.-Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,

I spoke to Emmanuel Agboola, a financial aid coordinator, and Marcia Boyd, the financial aid director. They both agreed that students with any problems involving the financial aid staff should speak to a coordinator. If the coordinator cannot solve the issue, he or she will find somebody who can.

“If there’s a problem that I cannot resolve at my level, I will take it to one of my assistant directors,” Agboola said.

For students who have time to actually go to the financial aid office, Agboola suggested asking to speak to personnel in the back office when encountering problems.

“If other students have issues with financial aid, if they come through the window it’s their right to demand to speak to somebody in the back,” Agboola added.

When students have any issues with reaching financial aid coordinators over the phone, Boyd suggested leaving a message. She said at peak periods there may be a slight delayed response, but somebody will call you back within two days.

“What we’re getting is new students calling in to find out about our financial aid,” Boyd said. “When we’re on a peak period it’s a 48-hour call back period. Normally it’s 24 hours.”

Boyd said the peak period for telephone calls is the month of March, so students may be better off visiting the office. The director said she has and will accept all students coming to see her.

More than anything, Boyd wants students to know that priority filing for the current FAFSA form started the first day of March. Only 20 percent of FAMU students have completed this priority application.

Anonymous, I think you should ask to speak to a director in the event of another financial aid issue. For all other students, please fill out a FAFSA form ASAP!