This spring quarter, 6,591 students’ financial aid disbursements were withheld because teachers did not turn in their grades on time.
The Financial Aid Coordinator, Gary Valentine, confirmed the students’ financial aid had been placed on hold due to the system not being able to update its Satisfactory Academic Progress status without the needed grades.
“If all grades are not posted, the SAP process can’t run (financial aid),” said Lisa Mandy, financial aid and scholarship director. “If it’s not done prior to Financial Aid running disbursements, the system puts holds on disbursements, labeled warning or disqualification.”
Students had to come to the Financial Aid office to get the hold manually taken off their account before receiving their disbursements.
“It’s a four-day process to get your money to higher one,” Mandy said.
Students who checked on Monday, April 7 and had the hold manually taken off, will receive their financial aid on-time. Any students who came in during the rest of the week and the following Monday will receive their financial aid a week later.
“On Monday we run our disbursements, and student’s can see on their account if money has been posted,” Mandy said, “some of it started pulling (financial aid) back ; the system started noticing this person is on hold.”
Many students did not notice any change until they received no disbursement on Friday, April 11.
“To me personally, only about 50 came in,” said Mandy on the first week of school, “I thought it would be more.”
A specific group of students encountered the holds. Those who’s financial aid depended on their grades.
“Students who were impacted were the students who had a SAP warning status for the winter term,” Mandy said, “If you’ve gone into warning for unit completion, your quarterly GPA or your cumulative GPA, or you maybe hit maximum time frame, you’re in a warning status for that term.”
Students were not the only ones surprised by the holds placed on their accounts. Many faculty had not encountered this situation before.
“I didn’t know that there was anything specific that happened this time around grades that was any different than other quarters,” said Kathleen Moberg, dean of admissions and records. “I do know for financial aid students, late grades are a problem and have always been a problem and the faculty are told that late grades do cause a problem for students.”
The only way current students can get real time dates on their disbursements is by asking someone at the financial aid office.
“I really hope the students are real comfortable coming in here or emailing if they don’t have the time,” Mandy said.
Major differences in information on students’ My Portal financial aid tab could be because of the lack of real time dates available.
“When I look at the dashboard, I can see the dates that your money was posted to your account; I can see the dates the refund came out or if any adjustments are done, like we pulled money out, I can see all of that,” Mandy said. “It didn’t appear to me, when I look at what you see, that you see any dates.”
Financial aid does provide help to students who need their books now. Book vouchers and book loans are available to students in need, but are limited.
“Normally book loans are for student’s who are not on financial aid, who maybe don’t have enough money in their paycheck for books,” Mandy said, “so we’ll give them a book loan and we let them pay it back over three months.”
Mandy has no problem giving book loans to students with late financial aid.
“It’s a reasonable thing to do,” Mandy said. “It’s the right thing to do because I’m suppose to be here to help you guys, not hinder your ability to go to class.”