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Students should receive financial aid sooner

Published: Monday, February 4, 2013

Updated: Monday, February 4, 2013 17:02

After weeks of living off of Ramen noodles, steak might be on the menu now that ASU students have finally received their financial aid refunds.

The question that comes to many students’ minds at the beginning of the semester is: why does it take so long to receive my money that’s been promised in the form of scholarships, grants or loans?
The answer is two fold: first due to loan runners grabbing financial aid checks and skipping class, and second a poor blanket policy enacted to combat the problem.

Actor Ray Ramono, star of “Everybody Loves Raymond,” is a prime example of loan runner.  When talking about his college career Ramono joked, “I would get my student loans, get money, register and never really go. It was a system I thought would somehow pan out.”

Although not attending school turned out okay for Ramono, his “system” is a get rich quick scheme that students around the country follow. While these fake students reap the short-term rewards they will eventually run into huge financial problems as collectors seek interest on their loans.  Unfortunately for the rest of the student body, this has more immediate consequences.

Thanks to the actions of Ramono and other college loan runners universities do not allow students to cash their refund checks until after the school can ensure that students are actually attending classes.

This poses an immediate threat to students who are trying pay for a month worth of gasoline, textbooks, food and rent while attending school full time.  Without the funds to afford these necessities many students are left checking their bank accounts everyday following Feb. 1, when ASU disperses financial aid after the 11th period of class.

It’s important to have a policy safeguarding student loans to ensure that they are used for their intended purposes. Although some students are sick of only eating sodium enriched angel hair noodles as they wait for their check to hit their bank account, this is only the beginning of their troubles.

The classic case of one bad apple spoiling the bunch hurts far too many college students to support the current blanket policy.

It seems silly that ASU would withhold money from college students with near spotless records.

A better option would be to shift their focus from the entire student body towards students who are more at risk for running out on student loans – based upon students GPA, grade year or number of college transfers.

Until ASU can find a way to protect their interest more efficiently, it seems that they will continue forcing their students into high-blood pressure diets and weeks of stress awaiting their refund checks.

“Our View” is written by the editorial staff. The opinions are not necessarily reflective of the student body, faculty or administration of Arkansas State University.

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