The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Students frustrated by financial aid delays

Illustration by Lori LIanillo
Illustration by Lori Llanillo

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in the Nov. 10 issue, but the data used there, while accurate, was inaccurately compared. We regret the error and have corrected the mistake.

City College financial aid disbursements for the fall semester trail those from American River College by 1,813, according data supplied to the Express by City College Vice President of Enrollment Thomas Greene.

That figure includes only disbursements of Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, Federal Work Study, and subsidized Stafford loans. Unsubsidized Stafford loans and Board of Governor’s fee waivers are not reflected.

City College and American River College have the two highest rates of enrollment in the Los Rios Community College District at 28,186 and 37,370 respectively, according to Greene. American River College has received 3,400 more applications than City College. City College has disbursed awards to approximately 41 percent of those who applied, while American River College has disbursed to approximately 43 percent.

Some financial aid applications at City College are awaiting disbursement pending submission of additional paperwork by students, according to Katherine Fites, dean of enrollment and student services.

“When students submit all of their paperwork and don’t require additional verification, we have a three-week turnaround time,” said Fites. “When we do need additional paperwork, we’re at a standstill until it’s submitted.”

Some students expressed concern that City College’s Financial Aid Office staff seem overwhelmed, need to be better informed and improve their office communication.

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Faculty members have also expressed concern over delays in financial aid disbursement.

“It’s really difficult and frustrating as a professor when I have students in class who have told me they … haven’t received their money,” said Patti Redmond, communications professor. “So they may go one, two, four weeks into a semester without the textbooks and they may not have access to the information needed for assignments or a test.”

City College’s Financial Aid Office has made some adjustments in the services it offers students this fall. There are now two counseling desks available to help with documentation requirements, and for the first time the entire loan process can be completed online.

There is also a separate counter for loan disbursements that alleviates lines at the general services counters.

The City College Financial Aid Office publicized Appeals for Special Circumstances, Consortium Agreements and loans in an effort to reach out and inform students about additional options for aid consideration this semester.

The office’s move caused dramatic increases in submissions figures.

“We have already surpassed last year’s figures in Appeals for Special Circumstances and we are not even halfway through the year,” said City College Financial Aid Director Kimberly Cortijo.

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