Changes are coming to financial aid next year in order to satisfy student complaints.
Beginning summer quarter there will be changes made to the way financial aid is run.
Financial aid will be implementing a new program titled FAM Student Portal. This online system will make it more accessible for students to get information about their financial aid process status and award information.
“Knowing we’re challenged to meet our customer service demand, tools like Portal can really help students and colleges alike,” Financial Aid Director Martin Daniels said.
According to Daniels there will be a new funding process for the 2012-2013 school year. The main changes are with the federal Pell Grant and the Washington State Need Grant. Many students that receive a Federal Pell grant of $200 may not receive a renewal. Those who qualify for the full Grant will receive money for each quarter.
“Sometimes when changes are made they’re driven by regulatory reasons and we just have to implement them to be compliant,” Daniels said. “Other times we make decisions based on opportunity to reduce known processing problems or specific ‘service traps’ and it is a matter of reducing harm rather than increasing positives.”
Daniels believes the changes will be very beneficial to the students.
Financial aid offices will also be working on neutralizing negative impact to state residents who would otherwise receive fewer grants due to reductions in the Federal Pell Grant Program.
Daniels is trying to change the process of transferring money by speeding up the process, but no matter how fast the process is some students will never be satisfied.
Since grants have lost some money due to the current economic conditions, the cost will be harsh on out-of-state students. This means that more students will be in need of financial aid, adding onto the already growing numbers. Around 80 percent of students get some type of financial support.
Student Melissa Stanton has had many issues with the way financial aid is run mainly due to the inconsistencies of the hours their offices are open.
Stanton has described working with financial aid as not fun and hopes that the changes help make the flow of transactions easier.
Financial aid has taken many complaints from students and is planning on fixing them; this is one of Daniels top priorities. According to Daniels many of the complaints were about random office hours and the distributing of money. Next school year, they’ll be implementing a new system so that financial aid is open every weekday.
“We want the best mix and if that means opening later and adding Wednesday then we will do it, we will try our best to be open on Wednesday starting this summer,” Daniels said.
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