Financial Aid Issues

As the school finals are drawing near, and the 2011-2012 academic school year is coming to an end, it is time for students to prepare for summer school, as well as the fall semester. With that being said it is also time to apply for financial aid once again, as well as get registered for classes for the upcoming terms. However, this year many students are running into a problem that may prevent them from registering, or even attending any courses for a while.

Just this semester, the financial aid office at Stephen F. Austin State University decided to make a change to the requirements for the financial aid balance known as an “out-standing balance.” These changes affected the student’s ability to register for classes for the upcoming terms. 

In the past if a student had an E-bill balance of $200 or less he or she could register for classes without any problems. On the other hand, if their balance exceeded the $200 amount, a registration hold would be placed on their file until it was paid below $200. 

Unfortunately that is not the case anymore, the amount for an outstanding balance has decreased to $0. A student now has to have a balance or $0 in order to be eligible to register for any classes for upcoming terms. This becomes a problem for many students because many students depend on financial aid as a source of income to pay for classes.   But if their balance is not at $0, they can not register which means they cannot receive financial aid at all. 

Another problem is that some majors only offer courses during certain terms so if a student can not register due to financial aid issues then they could possibly be set back a few semesters from graduation. And a few more semesters in college means more money will be needed to pay for each extra term.

In today’s economy, financial aid is a must for most students attending a college or university. The amount for tuition and room and board is rising swiftly and they are becoming almost un-payable at times.

As a result of this, students are branching out and having to find and accept more loans in order to pay off the outstanding balances on their ebills. They also sometimes have to accept what the government calls a Direct PLUS loan. This loan is offered when a student’s limit in loans is reached. It is placed on the credit of the student’s parent but in the name of the student. For the students not willing to go find loans, they go out on the job hunt and in this economy, it’s usually not so successful.

SFA student, Aaron Anderson, said, “I don’t think the university cares about anybody’s personal budget honestly. They don’t understand the financial struggle college students face every semester.”

He went on to say, “to be honest, I really don’t know. I don’t know if the campus wants to build new things or if Dr. Baker Patillo just wants a bigger wallet. But either way it’s affecting what’s happening in my pockets.”

Many student on SFA’s campus feel the same way and are taking whatever steps are needed to get their account balance to $0 so that they are eligible to register for classes and receive their financial aid, but not without voicing their opinions.

Students all over the campus have been flooding the financial aid office with complaints about the recent changes and attempting to sign up for payment plans to clear their balance over a period of time. However the financial aid office doesn’t seem to be budging on their new policy. Students continue to struggle and financial issues continue to grow across campus.


Student speaks on financial struggle