It’s the beginning of another semester here at Parkside, and with the new semester comes the never-ending errands of getting all of your books ordered, buying new school supplies and paying for tuition. But in order to cross these tiresome items off of your “To Do” list, you’re going to need money. With financial aid refunds not being available until nearly three weeks into the semester, that can seem like a hard task to accomplish. Many college students heavily rely on their financial aid refunds for school supplies and living expenses, and many students begin to wonder why it takes so long for them to receive the reimbursement that they’re entitled to.
According to the Financial Aid office the school received all financial aid disbursements for this semester on Feb. 3, but the “reimbursement process” requires them to hold the money for approximately 11 days as is described under financial aid information, according to the office’s website: “If your financial aid exceeds the balance due on your account, a refund will be generated by the close of business on the 11th day of class.” Although this information explains the process of holding reimbursement money, it still does not explain why the Financial Aid office needs to keep the remaining refund for nearly two weeks after the appointed date.
Current nursing student Kathryn Rotsch feels personally affected by the new refund process and took the initiative to speak to the Dean of Students in an attempt to get some of her questions answered regarding the change in the refund policy. In the interview, Kathryn Rotsch asked why the refund process changed in the first and what the benefits of the new process are. “The change was made in part because the school feels like students are walking away from Parkside without a degree and astronomical debt,” said Rotsch of the response she received in her meeting with the Dean of Students. “This was a way to control that. Many student were changing classes, incurring extra charges from add or drop fees after the disbursements were given because add and drop dates are mostly done by the end of the first two weeks.”
The new refund process was organized to help students wisely budget their refund money and minimize their debt usage. But as current senior Trevor Henkel points out, many students use their refund money for expenses besides school. “I use it for food, gas, possible expenses for my car if needed and other random things,” said Henkel. While the Dean of Students does offer an accommodation letter for landlords, some students still feel as though the new process is not entirely intended for their best interest. “I feel that even though Parkside says they’re doing it for students who want to add or drop classes, it’s actually them forcing a lot of us to purchase the books from the book store,” Henkel explained. “It should go back to the way it originally was.”
While many students want the process to revert to the schedule followed in previous years here at Parkside, some realize that that might not happen. After talking with the Financial Aid office, Kathryn Rotsch feels as though they are willing to listen to suggestions, but ultimately that things won’t be changing anytime soon: “They recognized that the situation is not perfect and they will continue to work on the issues I brought up, but they will not go back to how it was,” said Rotsch. Although the current financial aid refund process leaves some students feeling unheard and dissatisfied, some students hope for future changes to be made that will accommodate both the Parkside administration and Parkside students.
Article by Chelsie Aloisi