Financial aid changes are not in best interest of college students

Dear Editor:

It’s incredibly upsetting to read that financial aid will no longer be able to be applied to previous semesters.  It is not the university’s or the U.S. Department of Education’s responsibility, or place, to decide where or how students spend their money.  The refund check is essentially leftover loan monies.

If students take out a loan in their own name, which they will eventually have to pay back, they should be able to make their own adult decisions about how it is spent.  I’m not saying all students are responsible with their refund check money, but there are students, like myself, who depend on that money to keep up with school fees. Those students should not suffer in the name of making other students more responsible. This is not just unfair. It is wrong.

The U.S. Department of Education seems to have a misunderstanding of what students need in order to thrive.  Our university should be doing what is in the best interest of SIUC students, and taking away the ability to apply financial aid to previous semesters is not in our best interest.  It is very disappointing to see our chancellor defend this decision instead of admitting a real need for being able to pay old bursar bills with financial aid money.

If the “intention” is to have students be more responsible by paying their bills on time, then make a mandatory course for students to take early in their schooling to educate them on responsible spending, and the ins and outs of financial aid.  That is what school is for, right?

I agree wholeheartedly with SIU President Glenn Poshard when he says that it will make it harder for middle- and low-income families to put their kids through school.  I, personally, do not have financial support from anywhere other the money I make from working or receive in loans.  If a student couldn’t pay out-of-pocket to pay for tuition and fees, or going to the health center, where is this money supposed to come from?

Maybe I’m making assumptions, but the last time I checked, we are discussing financial aid.  If this money is no longer able to aid the students with paying for their schooling, what is it for?  It seems it is becoming more and more difficult for students to remain students at this school, which is nothing less than counterproductive.  If this university thinks enrollment is an issue now, a reality check (no pun intended) is coming sooner than it thinks!

Kendra Johnson
senior studying social work and rehabilitation services

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