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Friday, September 29, 2023

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Programs seek to untangle aid


The Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid is attempting to improve service and assist students with the financial aid process through information sessions.

"The session title itself addresses one of the biggest challenges that students face on our campus. The enrollment process, including admissions, registration, billing and financial aid, lacks the fluidity that is needed for complete clarity of the process," said Janette Carson assistant director of Customer Service.

"Financial Aid: Bringing the Pieces Together" will include information on financial aid myths, the role of the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid, applying for financial aid, types of financial aid, eligibility changes, how to pay fee bills and scholarship and financial aid resources, Carson said.

"Our goal is to provide information that will help clear up any confusion surrounding the application process for financial aid, from submitting the (Free Application For Student Aid), to completing the To Do List, the disbursement of financial aid funds, the reasons why your aid might be adjusted after accepting and even receiving your funds, as well as closing the gap between financial aid and billing," she said.

Economics senior Alejandro Capetillo, the Scholarship and Financial Aid Advisory Committee chairman, said the committee has been working to announce the session.

"The committee sort of spearheaded the idea of getting this together," he said.

Capetillo said the best way to communicate the financial aid process was through a presentation, which is why the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid is having the sessions, he said.

One idea the committee has is to Web cast one of the latter sessions and host it on the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid’s Web site for all students.

Finance and accounting junior Rob Regan said he thinks the session is a good idea because no one would answer his questions in the past.

"I think I need to go to that, seeing as how the financial aid thing is always annoying and confusing," he said. "They would just give you the run around."

Construction management senior Aaron Gutierrez said the process was easier in the past.

"Four years ago, when I first got here, things seemed pretty organized to me. The change to PeopleSoft seemed pretty unnecessary to me, I don’t know. Unless they can find a way to fix it, but the way it was before, it ran more smoothly," he said.

Gutierrez said despite experiencing difficulties in the fall, receiving his financial aid award was not much of a problem.

"It took about a month to get that stuff ironed out, but once I got past that I didn’t really have a problem with that anymore," he said. "I don’t know about next year, though I don’t know if there are going to be any problems next year."

Carson said she wants to make sure to send a strong message to UH students that everyone is united in helping them succeed.

The sessions are for current and future UH students and will run from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. on April 28, and from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. on April 29. All sessions will be at the University Center’s World Affairs Lounge.

Additional reporting by Bayan Raji


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