Financial aid refute

Below is a rubuttal concerning the news article, “The FAFSA trap” on page three of Viewpoints’ September 19 issue.

ELIZABETH HILTON |STUDENT FINANCIAL SERVICES DIRECTOR

Our current disbursement product, the Sallie Mae Debit Card, is available to students who chose to sign up for the card to receive their funds.

If a student chooses to not sign up for a card, a paper check is issued to the student.

All disbursements are processed on the day of the published disbursement date.

The method of disbursement is the student’s choice.

The Sallie Mae debit card or check is processed and mailed on the same day.

Sallie Mae requests that students allow 7-10 days for delivery, for either method of disbursement, however students may receive their funds much sooner.

Delivery could take place as soon as 1 day from disbursement date.

Our office encourages students to sign up for the debit card, in order to avoid the mail delay with each disbursement but does not mandate this option.

Once the debit card has been received, each following disbursement will be loaded onto the card on the day of the disbursement.
For students selecting a check, they will have the mail delay with each disbursement check issued.

Our office began the transition to the MyFlex Debit Card through Sallie Mae in fall of 2012.

Our contract addendum was signed in the spring for summer 2013 implementation.

This product would have addressed the issue of the mail date of the card, since the card would be mailed at the time of application instead of disbursement.

Unfortunately, in May 2013, Higher One absorbed the Sallie Mae Disbursement product and the MyFlex card is no longer available.

Our current product with Sallie Mae will remain in effect until we are able to implement a new product through another company.

Our district has met with new disbursement companies and has discovered new products which would provide more options for our students (debit card and direct deposit) and earlier delivery of their cards.

Student information forums are being held during the week of September 23rd at each college to introduce 2 of the companies who provide financial aid disbursement services.

Our office strives to provide students with as much information as possible regarding financial aid programs and processes at our college.

Our online Consumer Guide has information regarding the multiple programs and services provided by financial aid, including information regarding disbursements and the current disbursement method through Sallie Mae.

We will keep students informed of the changes to their disbursement method during our transition period.

The Student Financial Services office is constantly researching new methods to streamline the process for students and assist with their educational success.

During the fall 2013 semester, we will introduce a new scholarship application system, AcademicWorks, which will allow students easier access to apply for multiple scholarships at RCCD.

We will be offering online and in person workshops for students and are excited about offering this new program to students.