Students’ frustrations with Chaminade financial aid

The+financial+aid+office+is+located+below+the+business+office+in+Ching+Hall.+-+Photo+by+Jessika+Garcia

Jessika Garcia

The financial aid office is located below the business office in Ching Hall. - Photo by Jessika Garcia

This semester, like the previous five semesters, I have had to wait until the first day of school to find out if I owe money to this expensive private Marianist university. I have called the business office multiple times before the semester started only to be told that he or she cannot give me the correct amount of money I owe because financial aid hasn’t started processing students’ FAFSA (free application for federal student aid) yet. I have heard the grumbling in the student center about financial aid screwing up every year, however, little did I know that the financial aid office has federal rules to abide by before each semester begins.

 

Amy Takiguchi, the director of financial aid, explained the agonizing process to me. First, new and returning students complete the FAFSA. If students fill everything out correctly, their financial aid will be packaged in the beginning of April the semester before.

 

“However,” Takiguchi said, “there are students every year that forget to sign the FAFSA causing us (financial aid) to package his or her financial aid later.”

Trenton Payne, the associate director of financial aid, explained that the financial aid cousenlors processes FAFSA’s at least twice a week. But, when they are busy, they will only process once a week. The financial aid office will not process a student’s loan without the student’s consent first.

 

Although FAFSA’s are processed twice a week it doesn’t mean that a student’s packaged financial aid will be processed earlier. As explained by Payne, the federal regulation is that financial aid cannot disperse any financial aid to a student until 10 days before the semester starts. In reality, it’s not that the financial aid office is lounging around like we think they are, they do have federal rules that they need to follow.

 

What the financial aid office and counselors wish that students would understand more is that they do not process the refund checks.

 

“Every day there is at least one student calling in about their refund check,” Takiguchi said. “The business office cuts and issues the refund checks.”

 

The financial aid counselors also wish that students would be a little more patient with them. They do have to deal with 1,217 undergraduate students and 257 graduate students and are trying their best at packaging the right loans and scholarships. They are also trying to communicate with the students as much as possible. Payne explained that it is hard for them to communicate with students if they need to talk to them and they don’t answer to their letters and or phone calls.

 

“We are really working hard on making the communication process better,” Payne said.

 

If you have questions about your financial aid, please feel free to contact the director of financial aid, Amy Takiguchi, at (808) 735-4836 or through email [email protected] or the associate director of financial aid, Trenton Payne, at (808) 735-4706 or through email [email protected]