Card denied

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By Staff Editorial

A complicated card (Christina Melgoza / Staff Photographer)

By Staff Editorial

At Riverside City College the banner hanging inside Student Financial Services reads “Helping to build dreams.”

The new Sallie Mae bank card seems to be more of a dream crusher, than dream builder.

For years student ID cards were linked to a Wells Fargo bank account allowing students to receive their financial aid and use their ID cards all over campus, as well as the Wells Fargo ATMs on campus.

When signing up for the Sallie Mae bank card students are informed that it will take two weeks from their scheduled disbursement date for the card (which is loaded with their award) to be sent to their home.

Students do have the option of receiving paper checks, but still have to wait two weeks after their disbursement date to receive their check.

 The latest students can receive a disbursement is Nov. 15. To expect students to keep up a high level of academic achievement with such a long waiting process seems asinine.

If the idea of financial aid is to help students pay for classes, it doesn’t do them in any good if they don’t receive money until mid-November.

The college penalizes students if they drop any classes after receiving financial aid; they also have to pass 67 percent of classes attempted.

If they fall behind or drop any classes the college makes them return any over payment.

It makes it stressful to have to catch up or find the money to cover the cost of tuition and books while waiting for their disbursement.

At Mt. San Antonio College the financial aid process is handled different, students don’t have to wait eight weeks for their paper work to be processed; this is due to a larger counter staff and different software program.

This allows Mt. Sac to release checks before the school semester even starts; it also helps them weed out the potential financial aid bandits.

Chaffey College allows students direct deposit, and Valley sends paper checks.

All of these ways are efficient and work for these colleges.

It would seem that once again RCC is behind the times. While other colleges have figured out how to navigate the red tape of the financial aid process, RCC students are still be strangled by it.

The Sallie Mae process is a nightmare.

Students were not properly informed of this new policy, it just showed up one day, and Student Financial Services were not much help during the already confusing enrollment process.

First time students were blind sided by the process.

Most students just transfer the funds they receive on the Sallie Mae card to their already existing bank accounts.

The two week disbursement wait time is only for the first time but if students just so happen to lose their Sallie Mae card they are slapped with a $15 processing fee, and have to start the process all over.

Equal Opportunity Program gives students bus passes or parking permits as well as book vouchers for students who qualify.

The program holds students to the same academic standards that Financial Aid does however it is geared toward academic progress.  

RCC’s financial aid process seems to be alienating the students who need the help the most. Hopefully in the coming semesters Student Financial Services can patch up this faulty process.

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