Pain In The Aid

By Tiffany Boyd

Financial aid is funding, intended to help in-coming and returning college students pay for the expenses of their college career. While by nature it provides beneficial support for students who need the extra help to pay for college, it can also be a burden for some.

According to the web page for ENMU’s Financial Aid office, the reasons for financial aid amounts are inconsistent from one year to the next, is “…commonly due to the income reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid by either the student or the parents or possibly late filing of the FASFA.”

Also, if a student or the parents refuse to give details of their yearly income, this can effect if a student will receive any financial aid at all. This year many students have noticed, the amount estimated, as far as expenses for attending ENMU, is higher than what they are eligible to receive in financial aid. The most common solution students take to this is requesting additional loans on top of what they have already borrowed in order to equal the amount they had been awarded in previous semesters.Therefore, students find, they are having to pay more back for this school year than any other before due to these inconsistencies.

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The tuition and housing costs have been slowly increasing from year to year. Students have to be prepared in advance with their own financial support to stay at a manageable income, or be disappointed with the additional strain that it puts each individual who depends on financial aid to pay for the expenses of college.

For non-New Mexico residents, there are waivers to lower the cost of attending ENMU. If you are a Texas resident, that’s within 135 miles of the school, you automatically pay the in-state tuition due to the distance. However, students from other states such as Alaska, may have to apply for particular scholarships to help waive the original cost of college. A freshman from Fairbanks, Alaska, Alnise Freeman, stated “I have been having trouble with financial aid establishing the waiver scholarship on my account. My mother had to talk to financial aid about the situation because I was lead to believe that I would be receiving a refund check rather than having to owe the school an amount that was originally supposed to be covered by my financial aid.”

Freeman added “ I have applied for jobs on campus, and I know that work study students are first priority,but I don’t understand why I didn’t qualify for work study this semester.”

There is a specific limit, financial aid can only fund a specific amount of students, and that’s why many students find themselves on a waiting list for work study funds, or tough it out trying to find a place on campus that can afford to pay a student hire wage for enough hours to meet particular funding requirement.

ENMU senior, Nikita Johnson, said, “ They tried to deny me financial aid this year. I went over my completion rate hours and I was not notified of this manner until a week before school started. So,that was the first thing that almost messed me up. I believe that financial aid needs to inform the students about everything that they can offer us.”

Johnson added “ I received work study,but I had to reduce one of my loans that financial aid had offered me so that I could get the full funding for work study this year. I usually can work up to 20 hours,but this semester I can only work 15.”

As far as refund checks, every student is not required to receive any money back, unless their payments are up to date on their student accounts and their expenses did not exceed the amount of financial aid that was afford and accepted. Therefore, each student is in a different situation as far as the amount that they owe or is refunded from their total financial aid.

There are many thing that people find frustrating about paying for college and much of the stress comes from depending on funding, you may or may not receive enough of, to avoid additional liabilities such as loans, or an job off campus with little to none flexible hours. It’s just best to prepare yourself for the worst each semester and set aside money, that you may receive through the year, to help you pay for expenses that may be out of your control as well as financial aid.

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