Financial Aid TV ineffective

In an effort to ease traffic and minimize time spent by students at Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid, Financial Aid TV was implemented to answer questions students may be asking.

The only problem is many students aren’t tuning in to the pilot program, which was launched more than five months ago, and financial aid advising wait times have not been curtailed.

"On a typical day, I will wait about 40 minutes and I’ll meet with a counselor for about 5 minutes," said communications junior Britney Asasar, who visits the financial aid office 10 times a semester.

To make the financial aid process a less daunting experience for students, the department implemented Financial Aid TV, an $18,000 investment, on Feb. 15 with the help of California-based Media Solutions, becoming first in the state to acquire the program.

While many students who seek counseling have a list of questions, others are faced with the simpler issue of learning the status of their accounts.

Because her parents file a foreign tax return, architecture senior Athena Patel says it takes her longer to receive financial aid.

"Sitting here is not that bad, it’s having to resubmit my information a second time after I sent it in on time," said Patel, who did not know about Financial Aid TV.

UH student Kyle Reyes said the adjustment to online counseling should make for a more informative session once students reach financial counselors.

"If being online is too vague, the counselors should be able to fulfill any remaining questions," Reyes said.

Though Financial Aid TV’s Web site has received more than 14,000 hits since its induction, Assistant Director of Financial Aid Janette Carson was unable to determine whether the types of questions being asked during face-to-face advising sessions have changed.

"We are able to see what questions students are viewing and what they are searching, but we are not able to provide specific answers to UH questions through Financial Aid TV," Carson said.

The department handles a variety of questions revolving around the process of obtaining funds from the University.

"Right now our ratio of students to Financial Aid counselors is 3,500 to 1. We are asking for four additional officers, so the ratio will change to 2,300 once they’re hired," Carson said. "The information right now is general, once phase two begins we look forward to marketing the program toward what the students needs are."

Since Financial Aid TV’s installation to the campus, students have slowly begun to hear about what the entire Web site has to offer in terms of information.

UH alumna Laura Garcia said the relatively new program appears informative and helpful.

"It’s a fresh approach to informing students," Garcia said.

UH and Media Solutions has given students much-needed access to numerous inquiries via streaming videos. With a total of 76 clips covering everything from how to pay for college to information about students deducting tuition costs from federal taxes, Financial Aid TV aims to provide a Web site to cultivate organization and clarity with the many questions applicants may have.

For more information about Financial Aid TV, visit

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