Lone Star College Students Say They're Getting Screwed On Financial Aid

Categories: Education

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Lone Star College, get your shit together
When a student who shall remain nameless started at Lone Star College last year, he heard rumors about problems in the financial aid office: botched paperwork, delayed disbursement, and even random cancelations of people's financial aid. Then it happened to him.

First, his application got held up when the lady processing it forgot to update his status from "initiated" to "complete." When he called to sort out the issue, she assured him it was an easy fix, but whatever she did got his aid canceled. He had to resubmit everything, and now he's on financial thin ice waiting for money behind deadline.

That kind of story isn't uncommon among the 52 percent of Lone Star students who receive financial aid of some kind. Multiple kids I talked to mentioned issues with the financial aid office, even though they usually seemed hesitant to say anything bad about the college.

Carolyn Wade, dean of student support, blamed most of these complaints on misunderstandings or student errors, though she admitted to occasional mistakes that every college experiences. She said that physical checks distributing funds don't necessarily arrive on the "anticipated date," which students might mistake for a delayed disbursement. But I also heard about delayed disbursements involving direct deposits, which do have a firm date when they're supposed to go through.

Wade also told me that some students had their financial aid canceled because they weren't taking enough credit hours to qualify. But others fell victim to the office's lunatic computer when it wrongly pulled their funding under the impression that they weren't taking enough hours, when they actually were. Another source who handles student complaints told me that computer glitch has affected over 6,000 students, though I can't verify that number.

Like everyone at the financial aid office, Wade seemed well-intentioned and very willing to help. In fact, today she was working on funneling grants to a student whose loan didn't make it through processing - though that obviously doesn't speak to the office's competence. Even the nameless student at the top of the article wasn't angry with anyone in the financial aid office, just frustrated by the unnecessary complications. He said he's gone to four other colleges and never experienced anything like this before.

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9 comments
Destiny
Destiny

This happened to me with the financial aid. I applied Jan 3. I was supposed to have my financial aid in time to go to school during the first summer term, and it was not ready. I tried to do second summer term, and it still was not ready. The past month and half Ive called the financial aid department 3 to 4 times a week. They would tell me the same thing that they were starting on it or it would take 3 to 5 days. More like 7 to 8 months! I just received my financial aid Aug 23.

Hanabi-chan
Hanabi-chan

Perhaps the Lone Star folks got their training at the University of Houston? Because it sure as hell sounds like my experience at Cougar High all these many years ago.

Craigley
Craigley

This is just prep for the real world.  You think lazy no good so-and-so's don't work in the real world too?  You have to be on top of everyone and everything.  Nobody is going to look out for you other than YOU.

Bill
Bill

 HCC, but for the areas of Houston and its northern suburbs not served by HCC

Guest
Guest

You're completely wrong.  Lone Star College system has nothing to do with HCC, except both are colleges.  Lone Star College System has 6 colleges and 6 centers that serve 1400 square miles in north Harris and Montgomery counties. 

kstallings100
kstallings100

Could someone explain exactly what "Lone Star College" is?  I've never heard of it before.

Just Listen!
Just Listen!

Soooo True.  I have 2 semesters under my belt at Lone Star College.  And my financial aid experience has been quite erratic.  The first semester everything went fine, no problems at all.  The second semester, There was an unexplained $800 taken out of my financial aid refund and when I called to find out why I was told that a first semester glitch caused me to be over paid and I had to be taken out of my financial aid for the current semester.  Although I was a little peeved because of the fact that no one informed me of this and I kind of had plans for the refund money, I got over it.  Fast forward to April 2012 ----->  I applied for financial aid online, including student loans and received a confirmation that my information was sent to the school.  I'm ready to start my second year and receive my associates degree and then go on to get my bachelors.  HOWEVER, Due to a verification process, I still, 2 months later, have not been approved or even denied financial aid.  I have made numerous calls to the university, have gone to the campus, called the financial aid hotline and no one seems to be able to tell me why there is a hold on my financial aid account.  I spoke with a really kind, PATIENT (this is another problem with Lone Star College Administrators) gentleman and he was able to put in a request that someone call me regarding the matter (In 3-5 business days of course).  I really enjoy the experience and some of the professors at Lone Star College but the administrators in the financial aid department seem to be quite incompetent.  After going through all of this, I am seriously considering switching to another school, They can't all have this much financial aid dysfunction right?!?!?!

Stating the Obvious
Stating the Obvious

Who says the community college experience isn't like a university experience?!?!

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