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Saturday, September 30, 2023


Financial aid needs reform, SGA says

The Student Government Association passed legislation on Wednesday to establish a financial aid advisory committee and a financial aid resolution aimed at helping students with unresolved issues with the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid.

"This is the first step in helping to alleviate some of the problems that we experience with financial aid," SGA Vice President Sam Dike said.

The bill requests that UH establish a financial aid advisory committee run by faculty, staff and students that will advise the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid. The committee will evaluate policies and procedures and notify students of changes. No date has been set for committee appointments.

"Hopefully we’ll get a lot of support from students around campus and faculty and staff. People are getting frustrated (with financial aid), and hopefully this will help students understand better what goes on," Liberal Arts and Social Sciences Senator Aleah Al-Sad said. "The better communication there is, the less problems there will be for the University as a whole."

The resolution calls for 20 cents of every dollar raised through the University’s capital campaign to be "allocated to financial aid for the students on this campus," it reads.

Now that both pieces of legislation have been passed by the SGA, they will go on to University administration for further review.

Psychology professor Richard Kasschau attended the meeting and was allowed five minutes to address the senate and additional time to answer questions from the SGA regarding allegations of self-serving textbook practices.

Kasschau cited a statement by co-founder Roger D. Ray as evidence he has no financial stake in the Web site, which is where his online textbook is located.

Kasschau said the online textbook is required because it helps students understand the material better. He also said that students do not buy their grades.

"You purchase the text, you cannot buy the questions or the answers. You are not buying your grade. As in any other class, you’re expected to buy the book with which to educate yourself. My book happens to include a built-in control system that helps you master the material and a testing system to document the level at which you’ve mastered it. You’re buying an education," Kasschau said.

When asked about using WebCT for the online text, Kasschau said it is too sophisticated for the Web site. He also said he was willing to look into the option of using the UH Center for Academic Support and Assessment Web site to offer quizzes.

Kasschau said the reason the cost was so high was because of the publisher, not because he has any stake or claim in the Web site.

The Web site used for the online text allows students to be tutored and quizzed individually, and optimized to prevent students from cheating, Kasschau said. The online quizzes time individual questions for 30 seconds to help minimize any dishonest actions.

"The system actually teaches you two things: it’s teaching people to read and secondly, it’s teaching mastery of psychology," Kasschau said when SGA President David Rosen asked if the online text and the quizzes could be separated.

"The purpose of the questions is to be able to master the material," Kasschau said.

Rosen said he did not want to make the textbook issue personal.

"This is not about personalities, this is a discussion of policies and it must not get personal. We’re not tossing insults. This needs to be sharing of ideas. We will not resort from the student government to the practice of name-calling, " Rosen said.

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