By Alexis Long
Student Life Editor
CLARIFICATION: There is misinformation in the column. “Changes in financial aid, yet again” column. The date for disbursement remains the same and students are able to buy textbooks with their funds even before disbursement. Also, the word “advisor” isn’t used in the Financial Aid office.
Let’s be honest, applying for financial aid can sometimes be incredibly frustrating… especially at TJC. Love it or hate it, the majority of college students will need some sort of financial aid to get them through college. Basically, you complete the FAFSA (and hopefully haven’t pulled out your hair in the process because this is seriously the worst part), wait until the Financial Aid office receives it, go in to Apache Access and make sure everything is correct under the Financial Aid tab. The student may have to download forms and submit them to the FA office, either directly or by faxing or you could consider using cloud fax solutions. When submitting the forms, you may hear, “No, you have to do it THIS way!” even though the other advisor said to do them a different way.
After that is done, you’ll wait a few weeks (maybe a few months even if you turn all of this in early) until the boxes under the FA tab are yellow. This means you have awards you can either accept or deny. If you accept an award, you must complete Entrance Loan Counseling and a Master Promissory Note.
The process isn’t exactly complicated. It’s pretty straightforward. Plus, I agree that students should have to understand what they are getting themselves into, especially if you accept a loan. Say this aloud while you read this: You have to pay them back.
Why do some students fail to realize that? I wouldn’t be able to tell you. What actually kind of grinds my gears is actually working with the advisors. To me, they are just kind of difficult to deal with and, like I mentioned earlier, one advisor will tell you to do it like that and the other will tell you to do it like this.
Although the advisors may not be fun to deal with, TJC is actually doing something different regarding disbursements this semester. Fall semester disbursements are on Sept. 7, which is actually earlier than it was in the past. This works a lot better because most professors want students to have the book super early in the semester so they won’t fall behind. This, to me, made the financial aid process a bit easier because the majority of students aren’t really able to buy all of their books.
I’ll give students some advice though: Only accept what you need to cover your classes and books. Don’t take that extra $5,000 they are trying to give you. Do NOT treat yourself. You will have to pay that back.