Post Classifieds

Direct loans ease student aid

By Jordan Howse
On September 29, 2010

  • BRITTANI PARKER. Argus Staff

Most Winston-Salem State students, as well as students all over the state agree that financial aid is the most tedious part of college.

In March, President Barack Obama signed a health care bill that included education reform.  In that bill, private lenders were eliminated and the U.S. Department of Education became the sole provider of financial aid to students at state colleges and universities.

"The process is more seamless after procuring the federal government as your lender," said Tomikia LeGrande, assistant vice chancellor of enrollment management.  

"The money comes to the institutions on a much more rapid basis.

"Because the money comes faster, and the interest rates are lower with a more flexible schedule payment, students seem excited about the benefits and the change to direct lending," LeGrande said.

Some students do not agree.  

"This is my fifth semester at WSSU, and it's the first time I haven't gotten my refund check during the first disbursement," said Julisa Fields, a junior business administration major from Hickory.  

Students that completed all paperwork before July 15 received their refund Sept. 7.    

The Financial Aid Office was audited because the information collected was insufficient  and did not provide proof to the federal government that some students were eligible to receive funds.

"The goal this year is to provide our students education," LeGrande said.  

"About 90 percent of students receive financial aid in some form, so we want the student population to understand three things:  why it is so important to get your FAFSA in early; the things that prompt the federal government to select a student for verification; and, the paperwork to provide to prevent the need for verification."

Chancellor Donald Reaves sent an e-mail to students Aug. 27. It stated those who had not paid their tuition because they hadn't received their financial aid would be allowed to continue attending classes.

About 350 students would have been purged if Reaves had not made this decision.

Approximately 4,000 students did not submit the information by the deadline set by the federal government and the University.        

Many students were selected for verification because of this. Verification, according to the WSSU financial aid web site, is the process to confirm a student's application data.

Alishia Grant, a sophomore nursing major from Durham was a student that was selected for verification.

"It wasn't as big of a deal as I thought it would be," Grant said.  

"When I was told I had been selected for verification I thought it was going to set me way back from getting my financial aid.

"I just didn't know that I had to sign a new promissory note and do that entrance counseling."  

Grant said after she completed her documents, her financial aid package was back on track.

Amanda Colfield, a senior biology major from Greensboro, said she didn't find the verification process so easy.

"I turned in all my paperwork before the end of last [spring 2010] semester," Colfield said.   

"I've had financial aid problems before, and I was determined to not have them again.  

"Then at the very end of the summer, I got an e-mail and checked my banner account, and it said I had unsatisfied requirements," she said.

During this transitional year, Financial Aid Office is advancing technologically.

LeGrande said the Office is getting a new document and facsimile imaging system that can scan and archive documents that have been sent.

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