Aiding Financial Aid: Many ARC students need it, how can the process be improved?

Financial aid is vital to many students at American River College. Despite its availability, however, it can also be a great hassle. So the question must be asked: how can financial aid improve?

Many parts of the system can be updated, with the main grievances seeming to be the 72 unit cap and the 75 percent completion rate requirement.

Financial aid office supervisor Chad Funk said the unit cap was at 90 as recently as a few years ago.

“If I had my way, I’d set it back to 90 units,” Funk said.

Funk went on to state as well that the completion rate process would be better off with its previous requirement of 69 percent.

Cody Vasquez, an accounting major at ARC, revealed that he’s had trouble in receiving aid from the department.

Vasquez believes this is largely due to the amount of students receiving aid in comparison with the amount of staff, making it difficult to keep up with everyone’s needs.

“There are not enough people dealing with it,” Vasquez said.

Vasquez says he has been waiting a few weeks now, and still has yet to get his money.

Students who go out of their way to meet the requirements shouldn’t be stuck waiting for the money to come.

“There should be more resources dedicated to the students who get their required material in on time,” said Vasquez.

The responsibility doesn’t all reside on the office, however. Students should also show the  dedication and academic responsibility to make sure they follow the process and don’t slack on deadlines.

Funk also spoke about things students could do in order to help their financial aid situation, such as turning their required paperwork in early, staying enrolled in classes and above all, not falling into debt by taking out excessive loans.

Doing those things makes it easier for financial aid staff to focus on helping students receive their money, rather than worrying about issues like delayed paperwork.

Due to the apparent lack of resources devoted to the issue, as well as most students having tight schedules that make it difficult spend time at the office, financial aid can be a tricky and stressful subject.

If students take care of all of their requirements and paperwork in order early, and the staff  make it a priority to offer more resources and be more active in assisting students, then our campus as a whole can improve greatly in its financial aid process.

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