Changes in policy: business, financial aid offices must inform students

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Both the business office and financial aid office have recently updated their policies.

These new regulations begin in the business office, with students now receiving reimbursement checks through mail or direct deposit, instead of in person like the previous years. This means a student must update both their phone numbers and addresses to receive their money. According to Business Office Bursar Dan Eckhoff, it’s the student’s responsibility to keep the business office updated with personal information.

“Whomever it is, they have to understand that it’s their responsibility to notify us. A lot of people don’t tell us that they changed their address or their phone number changes,” Eckhoff said. “If they don’t communicate that to us, there is no way we can communicate back to them. Then, naturally, they are upset when they don’t get their money timely because we mailed it to the wrong address.”

All students, however, do have the option to receive their funds through direct deposit, which is what the business office encourages, according to Eckhoff. He stated that 72 percent of students have already jumped on board with direct deposit.

In addition to business office changes, financial aid is also preparing to make changes to a student’s eligibility.

One change is that if a student has 60 credit hours or above, they must declare a major in order to receive their financial aid.

“We are requiring students to declare a degree if they have 60 hours or more — whether it’s an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree,” Marilyn Baker, director of financial aid, said. “By doing that, we think that it should provide a better retention. We are requiring students to do that before we disburse their financial aid. Money talks, so we think it’s helping to put them on a path to graduate.”

In addition to this requirement, students who accumulate over 134 hours are required to meet with their adviser to determine how many hours are needed in order to graduate. The adviser must sign-off on a form that declares the meeting has occurred, and then the form must be received by financial aid.

Both the business office and financial aid office feel the students must be consistently checking their emails and notifications on Goldlink. Echoff is also considering developing a text messaging system to keep students more financially aware.

“I don’t know how you can make [communication] better,” Eckhoff said. “I thought about and I can create a thing were you can subscribe to texting.  I thought about doing that for when we send bills. They have to subscribe to that, just like you do with Griffon Alert System.”

These emails sent by both offices must not contain too much personal information, according to federal regulations. This, however, could make it difficult for a student to decipher what financial concerns are more important then others.

Senior Robby Malone feels that communication with the students and service to the students could be a lot better.

“I think the business and financial office is lacking is customer service,” Malone said. “Its not that students don’t find them as a resource, but when it’s time to use them, it’s a headache. They could take some positive manners in customer service and communicating better with students on new policies besides email. Overall, I feel the attitude needs to be focused for the students and not on the payment of the balance. If we feel that we are cared for than the respect will be mutual.”







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