In Need of Aid

CAMPUS ISSUES: The strapped financial aid office on campus should receive more funds to allocate student resources more efficiently.

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Budget cuts are never welcome, but some are considerably worse than others. For the campus financial aid office, scrimped services have a costly effect.

We empathize with the office since it has been forced to do more with fewer resources. As a result, financial aid has been adversely affected. This is unacceptable; the campus should seriously consider prioritizing financial aid operations.

Although there has been more than a 5 percent increase in students on campus filing FAFSA forms for 2010-11, the office is operating with 10 fewer employees than it had just a couple years ago.

A new computer system was installed in an attempt to handle the increased requests in the most cost-effective manner possible. However, the system has been problematic, and as a result, the allocation of aid for some students has been delayed two months thus far. Many are still waiting for their financial aid. Roughly 200 ineligible students were also accidentally awarded aid by the office due to a computer system error.

These errors may seem incredible but were likely to happen in an office stretched so thin. It would have been more cost-effective to hire a staff member well-versed in the new computer program to troubleshoot any difficulties. Perhaps then someone else would have had the time to catch the faulty aid offers. Yet that is easy to say now and was almost certainly not an option for the office at the time.

As much-contested fee increases were passed last year, students were assured that more money would go toward financial aid offers for those in need. Yet more money should have been allocated to the administration of these scholarships - otherwise students will have to suffer through more oversights and delays. Increased financial aid means nothing if it cannot be distributed effectively.

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